Last year Hounsdown Eco Team worked with New Forest Friends of the Earth and a number of other schools to monitor air pollution near schools in the local area. The results were very concerning with high levels of sulfur dioxide being recorded near Hounsdown at Rushington Roundabout and in Lyndurst. Diesel and petrol burnt in our cars, vans, lorries, buses and trains are the main sources of poor air quality. This is a concern because the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics have found that over 40,000 premature deaths are caused each year in the UK by poor air quality. They are particularly concerned about the impact that pollution is having on the developing lungs of our children.
We decided that we should investigate this further and collect some more scientific data by doing a longer study. We are now monitoring levels of sulfur dioxide at 4 sites every month. One of these is on the school grounds and the others are on the main routes students take to school and include the original site we used last year. We are interested to see if the time of year makes a difference to air quality, as data collected over a year in Southampton, suggests it does. The aim is to share this data as a report with Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council.