Goose Green Primary School recently embarked on a campaign to address the air quality their children are exposed to in their South London school.
In February 2018, they setup over 80m of green screens of ivy on the road-side boundary. This has successfully reduced levels of toxic NO2 by 30-40% as well as Particulate Matter 2.5 by 40-60%. They have also installed air purification units indoors to further improve air quality exposure. In 2019, they asked us to remove and rebuild worn out beds with materials from British Recycled Plastic, and plant them up with plants that help address air quality and improve biodiversity.
Clematis and other ornamental climbers were planted into the existing green screen to produce food for pollinators throughout each season, especially in late winter and early spring, when food reserves are at their lowest for pollinators.We planted up 8 meters with English Yew (Taxus baccata), evergreen shrubs with high surface area which are effective at trapping P.M 2.5, creating a screen at head height between the road outside the school gates and the pavement children walk along to enter the school.
In other beds and directly into the ground, parents and students helped to plant drought tolerant Mediterranean shrubs that flower in different colours, shrubs that flower in different seasons and edibles like Brown Turkey Fig (Ficus carica). All of these interventions and programs combine to set the school up well to protect children from harmful air toxins and teach them how to improve air quality and connect with nature.