The city of Delhi is sadly, one of the 10 most polluted cities in the world. Despite the beautiful history and culture of our city, this is a reality that the entire school community has gradually had to accept. It is also a health threat that we all have to face.
As such, at the French International School of Delhi, air pollution has been taken very seriously for 5 years now.
The school is a place where our children, as well as our staff, spend many hours in the week, provide intensive intellectual efforts, and perform daily physical activity. The subject of air quality within the institution is therefore a security and educational priority.
Here are the measures currently applicable at the LFID in the fight against pollution.
Daily measurement of the rate of air pollution
We use the US AQI index provided by the US Embassy in Delhi near the LFID.
The AQI (Air Quality Index) is an algorithm that takes into account the 5 most common pollutants in the atmosphere. AQI US is the most used of AQI. The measurement is carried out twice a day, at 8am and at 2pm. The measurement indicated by the US Embassy is corroborated by a measurement made with an LFID sensor. The values are displayed in the office of school life and drive the application of the protocol.
The application of a complete pollution protocol
In March 2014, the LFID adopted a pollution protocol aimed at limiting physical activities in the event of peak pollution.
In February 2018, in liaison with a competent medical team, this protocol was reviewed and strengthened. Depending on the rate of outdoor air pollution, the educational and physical organization is adapted. Physical education and sports, extra-curricular activities, and recreation are modulated for all children (with or without breathing difficulty), differentiating between kindergarten/primary and high school students.
Air treatment in the premises
The LFID invested, between 2015 and 2018, in the purchase of purifiers to equip all the premises. To date, the establishment has 65 machines which are maintained by a dedicated technical staff. Each opening day, the purifiers are systematically started at full power at 7am. In periods of high pollution (> 150 AQI US) purifiers run continuously 24/7.
The insulation of the premises is also a subject of constant attention. In the summer of 2017, major works to close the corridors of the buildings were undertaken to create a pollution controlled zone.
Thanks to this work, the measurements made in the rooms show a significant improvement in the quality of the air.
The measures taken by the establishment do not prevent exposure to air pollution, especially on the home-school path. Thus, we strongly recommend to all the wearing of special masks, even in the outdoor spaces of the enclosure of the establishment. This mask is made mandatory in the school grounds beyond 200 AQI US. In primary school, students who bring a mask are encouraged by teachers to wear it when they leave the classroom.
In addition to these existing measures, complementary solutions are being studied, such as the implementation of calendar adjustments (Buffer holidays to trigger in case of peak pollution).
A complete audit of the school premises by a company specialized in air quality is underway, with two objectives:
- Improve control of air quality in classrooms
- Transparent communication on LFID pollution rates through a centralized and comprehensive system for continuous measurement of indoor and outdoor pollution.