"Dimitar Talev" Primary School in Plovdiv, Bulgaria, participated in the European project COMPAIR as a pilot to better understand local air quality.
This article was originally published on marica.bg on 19 April 2023
Sensors for dust particles and traffic were installed on the facade of "Dimitar Talev" Primary School in Plovdiv. This way, students from the school will be able to report and analyse gathered data themselves. THus, the first pilot school from PLovdiv joined the COMPAIR project under the Horizon 2020 program of the European Union, which aims to improve air quality by applying new data collection technologies.
The Plovdiv pilot is implemented by the Energy Agency Plovdiv, under the auspices of Deputy Mayors Anesti Timchev (Department 'Ecology and Health') and Stefan Stoyanov (Department 'Education, Business Development and European Policies').
Students form the 'Green Alternatives' club under the leadership of Vera Shopova, a teacher of natural sciences and information technology, welcomed the mobile laboratory for air quality testing located in the school yard. They were joined with interest by the participants of the 'Multimedia World' club headed by Iliya Dobrev.
Milena Agopyan, an expert at the Energy Agency Plovdiv, introduced students to the working principles of the individual devices that measure air pollution. She told them about the purpose of the lab and the sensors that were placed on the school building. "Just a few days after we contacted Mrs. Irina CHolakova, director of the Dimitar Talev primary school, we received consent for the school to join the project and the necessary arrangements were made. The campaign was launched on 7 April 2023 in the afternoon. Even though all the lessons ended by then and officially it was the start of the spring break already, many children turned up to learn about the opportunity, with many expressing great enthusiasm to get involved", said Milena Agopyan.
School children assembled their own do-it-yourself sensors for measuring dust particles. Participants of the 'Green Alternatives' club also got to know how different sensors work. One is a sensor that allows static and dynamic measurements of dust particles, another is a traffic sensor which takes into account traffic intensity based on number of pedestrians, cyclists, different vehicle types. "By participating in these activities, students have the opportunity to learn about different ways of measuring air quality, which can develop environmental awareness and promote behavioural change," commented Vera Shopova. In addition to 'green' competences, students also develop digital ones through citizen science experiments, research, and data analysis.