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BRITAIN'S MOST POLLUTED SCHOOL?

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Parson Street Primary School, Bristol, has emerged as one of Britain's most polluted schools, reported The Independ...
Parson Street Primary School, Bristol, has emerged as one of Britain's most polluted schools, reported The Independent on Sunday (p13). Windows can never be opened, even during a heatwave, and every class has children suffering from asthma.

The school is situated barely 10 yards from the junction of three of Bristol's busiest roads. A steady tream of cars, pick-up trucks and HGVs pull up alongside traffic lights alongside the main entrance, causing exhaust fumes to linger over the playground. In response to mounting health concerns, the school has instructed its 400 pupils to fill in an asthma diary, recording the exact times and dates when they suffer an attack.

The monitoring project, believed to be one of the first of its kind in Britain, has been launched by the city council and involves three other primary schools in the city and a further five in the surrounding area. At the same time, the council will monitor nitrogen dioxide levels and compare them with inhaler use on specific days. Parents will be given a report of the findings next summer.

The scheme has the support of Ofsted which is alarmed by the effect noise and traffic fumes at the school have on the children. While there is as yet no clear-cut evidence that traffic pollution causes asthma, it can trigger asthma attacks in 80% of people who already have the condition.

The National Asthma campaign has called for legislation to compel all local authorities to implement action plans to promote awareness of the risks, dangers and treatment of asthma. A new survey by the NAC found that almost one in three children said they did not have immediate access to their inhaler at school, while 63% of teachers said their school did not have a specific asthma policy. Where a local education authority did have such a policy, the survey found that half the teachers did not know what to do in the event of an asthma attack.
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