A new software targeting primary school children with information on the sources of air pollution, ERA’s air quality monitoring network, the health effects of air pollution and the tangible actions citizens can take to reduce their contribution to air pollution, has been developed.
This was announced by Minister for Education Justyne Caruana and Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia.
The app, developed by the Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) in collaboration with education officers, is compatible with students’ school tablets (One Tablet Per Child Scheme) and includes two mini-games which will introduce children to the small changes they can make in their daily lives to have a positive impact on air quality.
Minister for the Environment, Climate Change and Planning Aaron Farrugia said that the fate of the planet is in the hands of our children, making it crucial for them to develop a deeper understanding of environmental issues and make informed decisions. “On the other hand, air quality itself is a pressing issue during a time that public health in general is in the spotlight. In Europe, the air is cleaner today than it has been for the last two decades, which shows that policy actions and co-operation has had a positive effect. But more has to be done, and initiatives targeted towards the youngest members of our society are a step in the right direction,” the Minister said.
Minister for Education Justyne Caruana spoke about the importance of a holistic education. She said that, “An essential part of our children’s education is to ensure that our students are given more opportunities to broaden their knowledge beyond the traditional aspect of education, by providing them with the necessary tools so that they can also raise awareness on the subject.” Minister Caruana said that this is why she encourages schools to participate in the EkoSkola program, an initiative led locally by Nature Trust/FEE Malta, which is an international program for all schools, and which helps them towards education for sustainable development. She praised initiatives like the one launched today, as they provide an educational sphere that increases awareness about the importance of the environment.
The Environment and Resources Authority (ERA) CEO Ms Michelle Piccinino emphasized that educational campaigns are crucial for environmental change. This educational game also complies with the public’s wish, expressed in a public survey, to get more information on tangible actions they may take to contribute to further environmental protection. This app is a clear example of ERA’s commitment towards the environment in every segment of our population, including children who are our future. ERA will continue with further educational campaigns, expert advice and relevant policy implementations to improve air quality and other environmental aspects for a better quality of life.
The app can be used by both science and class teachers to discuss topics related to energy sources and pollution, which are topics aligned to the Learning Outcomes for Primary Science. This collaboration and the resulting app reinforce both the application of science to daily life and the importance that each and every one of us plays, even from a young age, in maintaining a healthy environment.