Mobile air pollution exhibit on display in Edinburgh

  01 August 2022
A mobile exhibit, highlighting the science and issues around air pollution and air quality, is on display in Edinburgh this summer.

The Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA) and the Glasgow Science Centre launched the touring exhibition in 2020, aiming to highlight the importance of air quality. It will be on display until the end of August at Leith Library.

The interactive exhibit encourages visitors of all ages to think about their local environment and the quality of the air, how poor air quality can affect them and their family and how we can all help to improve air quality through our daily choices. The interactive exhibit also uses a bespoke tool which allows visitors to share their thoughts on the environments they live and work in, and what can be done to improve air quality.

The exhibit uses a simulation model to control traffic and allow users to experience how different types of transport contribute to air pollution. At the same time, the interactive display provides information on the various sources of air pollution and how it can affect our health and wellbeing.

Dr Colin Gillespie, SEPA’s Air Modelling Unit Manager, said:

“Reducing air pollution and its associated health impacts is a challenge we should all be mindful of. We all contribute to sources of air pollution through our day-to-day activities and all breathe the same air, so we all have a part to play in improving air quality, no matter how small our actions may seem.

“This mobile exhibition highlights how individuals can take steps to help improve the quality of life both for ourselves and our wider communities and the simulation demonstrates the different ways the quality of the air we breathe can be impacted.”

Transport and Environment Convener at The City of Edinburgh Council, Councillor Scott Arthur, said:

“This fascinating and engaging exhibition will really get people thinking about the impacts of poor air quality on our lives, and the choices we can make to limit this. 

“Earlier this year I was proud to launch the Low Emission Zone in Edinburgh as this will reduce air pollution across the city. This is just one of a number of tools the Council is using to tackle poor air quality, from improvements to its vehicles to better infrastructure supporting cleaner modes of transport like walking and cycling, and for Leithers the Tram to Newhaven. What’s more, people using Lothian Buses can be reassured it has one of the cleanest fleets in the UK. 

“Visiting this interactive exhibition at Leith Library will provide an insight into the need to make these kinds of changes for the good of all in our city.”

Dr Gillian Lang, Director of Experience Development at Glasgow Science Centre, said:

“We are delighted to have been able to partner with SEPA on developing this touring exhibition to raise awareness of the science and issues around air quality.

“The exhibition was at Glasgow Science Centre during COP26 and has toured to Aberdeen Science Centre where it has been seen by over 16,000 people.”

The mobile exhibition is part of a larger educational package which SEPA has developed with Glasgow Science Centre, aiming to highlight the importance of air pollution and the impacts it can have on our health and the environment. In 2017, SEPA and the Glasgow Science Centre developed a larger, permanent installation which was originally commissioned by the Scottish Government as part of the Cleaner Air for Scotland (CAFS) strategy, encouraging an interactive way to explore the science behind air pollution.

The mobile exhibit is a development of this work and is now available to tour individual local authority areas. Anyone interested in finding out more information on how to bring the exhibit to their area can contact SEPA via
AirQuality@sepa.org.uk.

ENDS

Notes to editor:

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The Scottish Government launched the Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 (CAFS2) strategy, ‘Towards a Better Place for Everyone’, in 2021 -Cleaner Air for Scotland 2 - Towards a Better Place for Everyone - gov.scot (www.gov.scot)


SEPA – Air Quality 

  • Further educational resources for schools can be found at http://www.learnaboutair.com/

  • SEPA works closely with partner organisations such as local authorities, schools, Cycling Scotland and Living Streets to coordinate and contribute to local and national active travel campaigns which help improve air quality and change behaviours.

  • SEPA is one of the partners in the Clean Air for Scotland (CAFS) strategy with a statutory role in helping councils report on and comply with legal requirements for air quality in their areas - Air Quality in Scotland scottishairquality.scot. SEPA also embeds conditions to control air pollution from industrial activities in many regulatory permits to ensure the ongoing protection of communities and the environment.

  • SEPA has provided assistance to those local authorities developing Low Emission Zones (LEZs) through a National Modelling Framework (NMF). The NMF provides a standardised approach to air quality modelling and presenting evidence for the local authorities to use in their decision-making processes. This is a key element of delivering CAFS, which provides the ability to prioritise actions and support the selection of measures to tackle air pollution, supporting the implementation of Scotland’s LEZs.