Clean Air Hamilton Programs 2021
In 2021, Hamilton Public Health Services provided $12,400 to fund Fresh Air for Kids and Modelling Local NO2 Across Hamilton on a Ward Level During the COVID-19 Pandemic.
Fresh Air for Kids
The Fresh Air for Kids Program had a successful 2021-2022 school year with Green Venture and Corr Research delivering the program to 14 classes ranging from grades one through eight, totaling 303 students and 15 teachers across five schools.
The Fresh Air for Kids program consists of four components: air quality education, air quality monitoring, creating an action campaign, and a wrap-up celebration. During up to five visits with Green Venture team facilitators, students are introduced to the science of air pollution and its health effects and learn about tools and resources to measure air quality, and then turn their knowledge into action to develop an air quality action project to make a difference in their school and community.
The challenge of the COVID-19 pandemic meant that the program needed to be flexible and offer programming in ways that would fit with the changing public health guidelines and participants’ comfort levels. As a result, Fresh Air for Kids was delivered completely online to one school, in-person to two schools, and in combination for the other two. Green Venture and Corr Research were able to stay consistent in the content of the program across delivery methods.
Of the 303 students who participated in the program during the 2021-2022 school year, 162 submitted signed media consent forms and were able to complete Fresh Air for Kids’ post program survey. In the post program survey, 100% of students reported that they or their family reduced car idling or use and 96% indicated that participating in Fresh Air for Kids increased their knowledge on how they can improve local air quality. All participating classes completed anti-idling education campaigns and brought the message to their broader school communities through actions such as posters, outdoor banners, videos, speeches, brochures, and messages in their schools’ newsletters.
Modelling Local NO2 Across Hamilton on a Ward Level During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Matthew Adams, Ph.D., and Priya Patel, P.Eng., of the University of Toronto completed the analysis “Modelling local nitrogen dioxide (NO2) across Hamilton on a ward level during the COVID-19 pandemic”. This study was conducted to understand changes in NO2 concentration on a ward level from 2019 to 2020. Nitrogen dioxide was selected due to its close relationship to vehicular and industrial emissions, short atmospheric lifetime, and impacts on health due to exposure.
This study found the highest concentrations of NO2 in the downtown, centrally located wards of Hamilton. These wards have the highest densities of residential, industrial and road land uses, which likely contribute to the high NO2 concentrations. During the 2020 COVID-19 state of emergency, the central wards had the greatest reduction in NO2. Overall, we hope that this study will allow policymakers, residents, and other stakeholders to gain a better understanding of NO2 air pollution across the city and potentially inform urban design decisions. Furthermore, the research team is hopeful that this will provide an example of how air quality may improve as more mitigation and adaptation initiatives are implemented to reduce the impact of climate change.