Air purification domes for schools in Beijing

International School of Beijing Fitness and Tennis Center

In the Shunyi neighbourhood near Beijing Airport, it is full of conservative villas, surrounded by cornfields and sporadic, gradual villages. Drinking Starbucks coffee, the scene in front of you will almost make you feel that you are in the city of Walnut Creek, California - just in Starbucks here, the price of coffee is more than doubled, and sometimes there is no low coffee. This high-end community is not without merit, it has some excellent private schools. One of them is Dulwich College Beijing, which recently built a closed dome on the new stadium. In the vicinity, its rival, the International School of Beijing, built two super-large domes on a huge outdoor playground. The ceremony was just held on Tuesday. These are just closed outdoor stadiums, and there are many schools in the United States. What is the big fuss? Surprisingly, however, these domes are not designed to protect against rain or snow, but to protect against air pollution. The dome is equipped with large cleaning devices that filter the smoke.

International School of Beijing Fitness and Tennis Center is a common occurrence in Beijing, and it is also a well-known thing. Many parents feel uncomfortable about this because they worry that air pollution will bring health hazards to children. I have been working as a family doctor in Beijing for six years. During this period, especially after I learned about the research, the air pollution problem has also made me worry. What worries me most is the findings of the well-known USC Children’s Health Study. The study tracked students in grades 4 to 12 in the smog-covered Los Angeles for more than nine years. It turned out that the lung function of children in the most polluted school districts was increasingly impaired. The agency’s follow-up findings are equally worrying, and they found that these damages persisted when the children were 18 years old, most of the lungs were developed. In other words, this lung damage can be permanent. But we need to be cautious because the results of the research centre, although statistically significant, may not have a major impact on those students in the clinic. However, people are still worried that air pollution will harm students' long-term health and will affect their children's life after adulthood. In view of all kinds of research, I believe that we must not only act cautiously, but in fact, protecting students is also the moral responsibility of local schools.

So far, I have been calling this question on my blog for several years. The headmasters of several schools were very annoyed at me because they had a dispute with the worried parents who often took my article in front of them to say things. Due to the increasing pressure from many parties, many private schools in Beijing have launched an action plan for air pollution in the past few years. These schools are obsessively tracking the air quality index every hour through multiple web pages and smartphone applications (Air Quality). Index), once the air pollution reaches the standard specified by the index, the school will stop outdoor activities. For example, if the quality index is around 250, then all outdoor cultural activities on the day are likely to be cancelled. Although this number may be high and ridiculous for many people, the figure is commonplace in Shunyi. The students of Beijing Shunyi International School almost got claustrophobia last year because the students were banned for 35 days. outside activity. So the school decided to build two giant domes covering the vast areas of its tennis courts and its outdoor playground. Nowadays, even if the air quality index of Shunyi is serious, the students of Shunyi International School and Dewei School will no longer have to look at the smog outside the window; they can relax and carry out sports in these domes.

Although I am very happy with the measures taken by these schools, I am uneasy about the impact of the school's construction of “anti-pollution domes”. When I first saw the dome of the Shunyi International School Stadium, my first reaction was, “In order to deal with pollution, the schools in this city have to take this approach. Why do I still live in a city with such pollution? "Before coming to Beijing, I lived in Sonoma County, California, USA, and there was no air pollution problem in the county. Every day, I drive to my clinic in G√§rnnerville, through the beautiful vineyards, watching the majestic hot air balloons rise in the fresh air of the morning. For me, seeing these sights is a rare privilege. The only thing that can cause air pollution is the occasional forest fire, and here, the fog does not make people feel bad.

My second reaction to these domes is that they clearly represent wealth and privilege, and I am particularly disturbed by this. In the days when the air quality index was over the warning line, a small number of students were protected. However, the children of thousands of local public schools are still playing outside, is this fair? Should we let all schools build domes? And what kind of protection can the school take when the budget is limited? For schools, to ensure the long-term health of students, is it better to buy HVAC filters that meet the MERV-13 standard, or is it better to provide lunch with low-salt, non-carbonated drinks?

Although these effects still make me feel uncomfortable, I have to admit that if I choose a school for my own children (although my wife and I have no children at present), if A and B schools are equal in the main academic strength, then Environmental programs such as anti-pollution domes are bound to be the deciding factor in my consideration. I feel that if the school is located in a city similar to Beijing, who can provide the cleanest air, who can maximize the outdoor activities of students. This will actually become an important selling point for schools, and competition between schools will inevitably lead to competition.

Obviously, parents in Beijing are more likely to focus on this inevitable smog, but I think many parents overlook other major health issues. On the big issue of child health, risks such as obesity, nutrition and lack of exercise may be much higher than air pollution. It is true that some people say that no exercise at all is worse than health in bad weather. However, if the health effects of exercise are greater than the health effects of pollution, is it not worth worrying about the lack of exercise due to the cancellation of outdoor activities? I think this is the same, which is why I hesitated, but ultimately chose to support the construction of anti-pollution domes. It is reported that the large-scale purification of Beijing air will take many years, so the implementation of these expedients does have its basis. I hope that we don't need to argue about it, but since the debate has surfaced, and the dome has already "swelled up", then if you want to say it, let it go. Let us unveil the prelude to building a dome.

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