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  • In this activity, students investigate exhaust emissions, car use and air quality.

    Rights: Alexander Ishchenko, licenced through 123RF Ltd

    Car exhaust

    Car exhaust can contain particulates, especially if the vehicle is an older car or runs on diesel. Scientists are concerned that the particulates carry toxic chemicals, such as nitrous oxide and carbon monoxide, deep into our lungs where they can make us ill.

    The US EPA reports that a typical passenger vehicle emits about 4.6 metric tons of carbon dioxide per year. CO2 is a greenhouse gas.

    By the end of this activity, students should be able to:

    • recognise some of the sources of air pollution
    • understand that only some pollution is visible
    • carry out simple scientific observations and interpret results

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do.

    Related content

    The 2017 Connected article Sensing data describes how a team of researchers used technology and big data to help make Christchurch a healthier smarter city to live in.

    Explore air quality issues further with the activity Sources and effects of air pollution.

    Global Earth Challenge is an international citizen science project that has a section on monitoring air quality.

    The Clear the air collection supports the House of Science Clear the Air resource kit – but it is also useful for anyone interested in the human respiratory system and air quality/air pollution.

    Useful link

    See our Pinterest collection on Air quality for a range of useful resources.

      Published 23 June 2008, Updated 23 February 2015 Referencing Hub articles
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