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  • In this activity, students use images and information to investigate sources and effects of air pollution.

    Rights: Larry McCombs

    Smoking chimney

    Heating the home by burning wood or coal is common in New Zealand. Many councils are encouraging people to heat their homes in other ways in order to reduce the levels of air pollution.

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

    • recognise sources of air pollution
    • know about some solutions to air pollution
    • understand how air pollution affects them personally
    • discuss this scientific and social issue with others.
    Rights: Tomasz Sienicki, CC BY-SA 3.0

    Smoking bonfire

    Burning material causes air pollution. The smoke from a fire releases particulates into the environment, which can have a detrimental effect on people’s health.

    Download the Word file (see link below) for:

    • introduction/background notes
    • what you need
    • what to do
    • discussion questions
    • student handout
    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.

    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 Investigating 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.

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