The first phrase of Clean Air Neighborhood Program had brought to a successful close on 7th September 2021. This phrase lasted for around one year. By connecting students and elderly in Tuen Mun district, we had CCC Tam Lee Lai Fun Memorial Secondary School as the pilot to organize a series of air pollution educational activities, including talks, workshops, NO2 monitoring, “Watch” The Air With You town hall exhibition as well as community practice.
In this March, the students and elderly volunteers installed NO2diffusion tubes at the scope of 1.5km around the school to monitor the NO2 concentration in Tuen Mun district. The installation spots included bus stops, parks, school zones, elderly homes and hospitals. According to the data, the spots that were nearer to Tuen Mun Highway had a higher NO2 concentration. Among the 11 spots, Hung Kiu Bus Stop was the most polluted one with NO2 concentration over 220 μg/m³ per hour. This was four times higher than the suggested safety guidelines set by WHO. The bus stop was located at Tuen Mun Highway, being covered by the noise barrier. Air pollutants could not be dispersed from there due to inadequate ventilation facilities. Therefore, passengers waiting at the bus stop were consistently exposed to highly polluted environment that could cause serious impact to their health conditions.
Town Hall Exhibition
On 22nd of May, we organized the “Watch” The Air With You town hall exhibition to showcase the air monitoring results to the neighborhood in Tuen Mun. The guests were led by the students to tour and inspect different air pollution black spots to understand the sources of air pollutants. Furthermore, we prepared exhibition boards for the students and elderly volunteers to explain our findings in air monitoring and the air quality in Tuen Mun district to the guests. We even invited representatives from Walk In Hong Kong, HKUST Institute for the Environment, Blue Sky Technology and Make a Difference to join the discussion session, to talk about air pollution issues and feasible plans with the students and neighborhood.
Community Action Plan and Award Presentation
The first phrase of the program was ended with the Community Action Plan and Award Presentation Ceremony on 9thof July. Students and elderly volunteers had to work out a prototype to improve the air quality, and to implement it in Tuen Mun district. One of the groups distributed self-designed leaflets to the shops and residents nearby Tuen Mun Highway, to remind them how to reduce exposure to air pollution. Another group suggested to increase greening areas in the community to improve the air quality. They invited the neighborhood to choose by voting the most appropriate location to plant trees. We presented awards to students with outstanding performance in the program namely, “The Most Creative Award”, “The Best Policy Award” and “Community Awareness Award”.
Most of the students were passive and shy in the beginning. However, they eventually learned to express their ideas, and became more engaged after joining a series of workshops. There were nine students from Clean Air Committee (Tuen Mun) being the core members of the program. They were responsible for leading the tour and explaining the findings from NO2 diffusion tubes at the Town Hall Exhibition. By proactively explaining to the guest about causes of air pollution black spots and how these air pollutants would impact our health, they not only performed leadership qualities but also were frequently praised by the guests for being outstanding. In the future, we hoped that they would carry on the spirit of the program, and continue to speak for the air pollution issues in Tuen Mun.