Air quality exhibit demonstrates importance of cleaner air for Scotland

  18 January 2017
The launch of an innovative experience at the Glasgow Science Centre seeks to reinforce the importance of urban air quality for school children and the public, as part of the Scottish Environment Protection Agency’s (SEPA) journey towards cleaner air for Scotland.

SEPA has launched the educational exhibit at the Glasgow Science Centre today (18 January, 2017) with the aim of engaging school children in the value of good air quality and the negative effects of pollution.   

The Clean Air for Scotland exhibit has been commissioned by the Scottish Government as part of the Cleaner Air for Scotland strategy and is designed to help visitors discover the different sources of air pollutants and how poor air quality affects our health and the environment.  As part of the experience, school children are encouraged to think more about the effects of air quality, particularly how it affects them and their family, and how they can help to improve air quality through the choices they make in their daily lives.

To help launch and trial the new exhibition, pupils from St Ninian’s Primary School in Hamilton were invited to attend today’s event and share their experiences of learning about air quality. The new exhibition is based on the free online teaching resource “Learn About Air” which was developed by SEPA and North Lanarkshire Council in partnership with St Ninian’s Primary, and launched in September 2015.

Colin Gillespie, Principal Air Scientist from SEPA, said:  

“Combating air pollution and its associated health issues isn’t a challenge unique to big cities, it’s an issue which we should all be mindful of when going about our daily lives.  The exhibition highlights ways in which we can individually help to improve quality of life both for ourselves and our wider communities; it also shows the wider influences that planning and transport policies can have on the quality of the air we breathe. 

“The new exhibit is the start of a larger educational package being developed by the Glasgow Science Centre on air quality and will provide inspiration for younger people, amongst others, to tackle air pollution and understand its effects on our own health, communities and the wider environment.”

Cleaner Air for Scotland is being led by the Scottish Government, in collaboration with SEPA, Transport Scotland and local authorities, supported by a wide range of stakeholders including NGOs and health bodies, in the first co-ordinated approach to tackling health impacts from poor air quality.

Cabinet Secretary for the Environment, Climate change and Land Reform, Roseanna Cunningham said:

“Enhancing air quality is a priority for the Scottish Government and SEPA’s work with Glasgow Science Centre is a good example of the ambitious work being undertaken through our Cleaner Air Strategy. 

“This exhibit is a good opportunity to drive this change, not only by illustrating the causes of poor air quality but also what we can do to cut pollution, which can be as simple as choosing to walk, cycle or take public transport where possible instead of taking the car.”

Glasgow Science Centre Chief Executive Dr Stephen Breslin, said:

“The new ‘Clean Air for Scotland’ exhibit will act as a stimulus for visitors to Glasgow Science Centre, encouraging them to think about air quality and how they can play an active role in reducing air pollution. We know that air pollution affects our health and the environment but it’s important to understand that the choices we make in our day to day lives can affect how clean our air is. Whether it’s choosing to walk to school or work, or becoming more energy efficient, small changes can make a huge impact.

“Our team of scientists and designers worked closely with SEPA to develop the exhibit and help bring the value of good air quality, and the causes and harms of air pollution, to life in an engaging and interactive way. We are excited for our visitors to get hands on and discover more about the role they can play in improving air quality.”

The exhibition leads the development of a new area of the Glasgow Science Centre to fully explore the impact of our communities on the natural environment.



Notes to editor

  • Cleaner Air for Scotland Exhibit

The exhibit features a model city where visitors get the opportunity to control traffic, allowing them to experience how different modes of transport contribute to air pollution in our urban environments. Data from the monitoring stations dotted across Scotland, which continually monitor our air quality, is displayed in the exhibit, and visitors are encouraged to build their own virtual monitoring station too. An interactive touch wall with videos, also highlights the sources of pollution and health concerns.

Cleaner Air for Scotland is a government-led strategy which brings together SEPA, Transport Scotland and local authorities, supported by a wide range of stakeholders including NGOs and health bodies, in the first co-ordinated approach to tackling health impacts from poor air quality.

It sets out how the Scottish Government will deliver its commitment to further improving air quality to protect human health and fulfil Scotland’s legal responsibilities. The strategy promotes cross-partnership working to deliver the actions set out in CAFS. With the help of local authorities, Scottish Government is committed to put in place the first low emission zone by 2018.

The Air Quality in Scotland website provides a range of live air quality data and information. It is funded by the Scottish Government.

Designed with teachers and students in mind, the package provides:

The option for inter-disciplinary activities for secondary school pupils using both geography and science skills is also offered.