Delhi’s air quality nosedives towards very poor’; air quality continues to plunge in Delhi’; Punjab farmers continue to burn stubble’, traffic emissions add to poor air quality…
These are articles we read in newspapers everyday starting in October and going on to February/March, consistently and are deeply troubled by them. That is 6 months of the year!
The Ardee School, one of the founder members of “my right to breathe campaign” has always been in the forefront and has treated the war against pollution as a public health emergency.
The Ardee School students have been fighting this war for the past few years and the school has taken many steps to ensure that our students are aware about the problem and are also as protected as possible.
STEPS TAKEN BY THE SCHOOL
The Ardee School has created a special POLLUTION task force which includes members of the Senior Leadership Team, our faculty and parents.
- Jaidhar Gupta, a well known Environmental Activist with in-depth knowledge on the subject has joined forces with The Ardee School to help us in this very important endeavour. Under his guidance, the Special Task Force meets regularly to discuss and activate plans to further improve the quality of air that the children breathe at the Ardee School campus.
- The school observes Red / Yellow Flag days (High Pollution levels in the city) as a visual reminder for our students and staff to prevent them from engaging in active sport outdoors.
- We have installed 'Air Purifiers' and further installed online Indoor Air quality monitors on various floors to give us accurate and real time inputs on PM 2.5/ PM10/ Air Quality Index readings.
- We have vowed to keep education uninterrupted by offering video classes to our students on severe pollution days when the government notifies us to keep schools closed and we have to grudgingly comply even though we know our schools are now equipped to provide a safe environment with students on the severest of days. These classes are being conducted for key stage 4 and 5 on such occasions.
- Under the Advice of Jaidhar Gupta we have now retrofitted our ventilation systems in our lower ground floor area with MERV 14 rated Honeywell Electronic Air Cleaners that will reduce PM2.5 levels by 80-85% from ambient levels, down to 0.3 microns. We have dedicated this area to sports for days when weather does not allow students to be outdoors so that our students continue to play and be active. We believe that this is essential for cognitive development, as opposed to being stuck indoors for a large part of the year. This equipment will keep levels at SAFE ON VERY POOR DAYS. Regular readings of this area have shown levels have been maintained at 25 which is the GOOD VERY SAFE level which proves and confirms that the machine is highly effective. This area is used for all sports and also includes a gym with trainer that is available for students of Year 6 and above. We have also added a large monitor so parents can see AQI level in lower ground floor at all times. The lower ground floor is now also serviced by a high quality ‘Air Circulation system’ and has electronic air cleaners and filters. Not only will the air remain cooler all through the year but it will be an ideal and safe environment for sports activities. We want our students to be active young individuals and are making every effort to allow them to use the purified spaces available on campus to the optimum to ensure that they get to play and engage in normal activity even on RED days.
- The Ardee School has taken up the initiative to be a waste free school and our curriculum and community Service initiatives are geared to achieve this.
- Each student is being requested and reminded to wear masks to and from school on red days.
- We have changed the school calendar to ensure a longer break during poor air quality periods (Diwali and winter break) and reduced other holidays to make up for lost days because on severe days even travel to and fro can compromise children’s health.
- Every year The Ardee School students (senior) led by the student council is organizing an anti cracker march on November 1. This is an annual event to promote a cracker free Diwali. Students are made aware of how the crackers can have a negative impact on one’s health and they act as ambassadors to spread this message in their neighbourhood through their RWA’s.
But the fight cannot stop here!!! What else can we do??
The Ardee school begins the ‘carpool to school’ movement.
We request our parents use car pool and do their bit to save their child’s lungs. To encourage parents and students to join we are offering incentives to our students, which could include:
- Hashtag on the school facebook page
- Recognition on the media wall at every school campus
- Feature in Newsletter
Stickers for each car will also be given for each car that is part of this movement to encourage others to follow suit. Some parents may have valid reasons not to join this movement which can be discussed with the leadership team. Some parents may just not find it convenient or may think it is too much work and they do not need to join. You do have to step out of your comfort zone to save the environment.
We request each one of you to join us in this fight and participate in what we believe is the most important agenda for every Delhiite. The fight is for YOURCHILD’S right to breathe.