HOW DOES THE ACOEM HEALTHY SCHOOLS INDEX WORK? AQMesh environmental monitoring pods are a sensor-based instrument specifically designed to measure hyperlocal environmental trends in real time. ACOEM will install one or more AQMesh pods on your school grounds or childcare centre. The units are relatively small and unobtrusive, and can be mounted in various locations to suit your individual needs. You can add, subtract, or relocate individual AQMesh pods when and where required giving you greater monitoring flexibility and scalability. Data from the AQMesh pods is captured wirelessly and processed using specialised GATOR software. The data is then analysed and presented accurately in an internet browser window on your desktop, smartphone or other mobile device. Even small variations in air quality and/or noise levels can be easily identified. WHY YOUR SCHOOL NEEDS THE HEALTHY SCHOOLS INDEX Every child deserves to feel safe and healthy at school. Parents and caregivers want to be reassured that their child is protected against environmental conditions that could potentially threaten their health and safety. While typical environmental scales separate air and noise pollution, the ACOEM Healthy Schools Index combines them to create one easy-to-understand index that ranges from 0 to 100+. ACOEM Healthy Schools Index is a single, easy to use application that gives you a wide range of environmental information in one place and allows you to fulfill your duty of care and make critical decisions regarding your school and students quickly and efficiently. It can also help you define and develop your school’s policies regarding children’s exposure to acceptable pollution levels in much the same way as you currently have wet weather or excessive temperature guidelines. Used correctly, the ACOEM Healthy Schools Index is an accurate, simple and effective solution that provides peace of mind for both the educators and parents.
Our five pollution parameters ACOEM Healthy Schools Index (HSI) measures five pollution parameters to determine environmental health: Nitrogen Dioxide (NO 2 ) Nitrogen Dioxide is a common pollutant usually formed by burning fossil fuels, including coal, oil and gas. Breathing air with a high concentration of NO 2 can irritate the human respiratory system. Ozone (O 3 ) Ozone at ground level is a harmful air pollutant. It is formed when pollutants emitted by cars, power plants, refineries, chemical plants and other sources react chemically in the presence of sunlight. When inhaled, ozone can damage the lungs. Relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation. Particulate Matter 2.5 (PM 2.5 ) PM 2.5 are fine particles from vehicle exhausts or burning of fuels. They reduce visibility, can travel into the respiratory tract to the lungs, and may cause eye, nose, throat and lung irritation, coughing, sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath. Exposure can also worsen medical conditions like asthma and heart disease. People with breathing and heart problems, children and the elderly may be particularly sensitive to PM 2.5 . Particulate Matter 10 (PM 10 ) PM 10 is a combination of both fine and coarse particles and includes all particles up to 10 micrometres (µm) in diameter. Sources include those for PM 2.5 , crushing or grinding operations and dust stirred up by vehicles on roads. Exposure leads to respiratory symptoms, especially coughing. Long-term exposure has been associated with increased mortality rates. Noise Environmental noise is a product of transport or industrial activity on land, in the air and on waterways. It is a harmful pollutant that directly affects the health and well-being of people and wildlife. Exposure to high noise levels can cause stress, sleep changes and symptoms like hypertension and cardiovascular disease. Noise levels above 40 decibels (dB) can lead to negative health impacts and prolonged exposure has been linked to premature mortality. “Noise can pose a serious threat to a child’s physical and psychological health, including learning and behaviour. It can interfere with speech and language, impair learning and impair hearing.” Environmental Protection Agency USA 2015, Noise and its effect on children, July healthyschoolsindex.com | 5
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