Bangkok’s AQI (Air Quality Index) has become a significant talking point in recent times, earning widespread media coverage and with concerned residents increasingly keen to know what can be done to combat the associated problems in our neighbourhoods, roads, places of business and schools.
Whilst public awareness surrounding air quality issues has certainly increased, understanding of how AQI is measured and how we can best protect ourselves from the most harmful pollutants has often lagged some way behind.
With this in mind, Shrewsbury invited Dr. Supat Wangwongwatana, Senior Fellow at the Thailand Environment Institute to the school on 29th November, to give an information session to parents and caregivers about AQI and how it works. He also spoke candidly about the environmental impact and public health policy related to AQI.
The school has been working closely with air quality consultants for some time, and their expertise has helped inform a series of operational, policy and infrastructure improvements to help protect our own community from the effects of air pollution.
Student welfare is always at the very top of Shrewsbury’s priorities, and the school is committed to ensuring that the learning environments here are as safe and healthy as possible for our students. Following careful testing and pilot scheme monitoring, which demonstrated significant improvement in air purity, Shrewsbury Riverside has undertaken a comprehensive programme of improvements and upgrades to our air filtration systems throughout 2019, including the installation of electrostatic filters in buildings across our campus that are specifically designed to remove the most harmful pollutants from the air before it reaches our classroom spaces.
Already operational in the Pre-Prep building, the upgrade programme is nearing completion in the Prep School and Senior School buildings and will be ready in time for the new calendar year.
Rather than using data from area-wide monitoring stations, Shrewsbury has invested in our own on-site monitoring equipment that give us accurate, real time data of air quality on our campus. When AQI reaches specific thresholds, this triggers changes a communication protocol and changes to our operational procedures in accordance with our air pollution policy; information which is relayed to staff via direct emails so that they fully understand what action is required of them should air quality decline.
In periods of lower air quality, the school also communicates readings at regular intervals via twitter, whilst live readings from our main monitoring station are displayed on our website at all times. Data from this station is also published to AirVisual website and app (and presented as a 1 hour rolling average).