CRI在线收听:Beijing to pilot air purifiers in schools, kindergartens

Beijing will launch a pilot program to equip schools and kindergartens with air filtration devices.

Smog has been a significant issue in the Chinese capital this winter.

"I was coughing just now, I always wear mask, from school to home."

"The air is choking when the door and window is open."

The thick air pollution has prompted many parents to appeal online for better air ventilation systems, with filters, to be installed in schools.

On Friday morning, Beijing Municipal Education Commission unveiled plans to subsidize schools to install more air purifiers and add filters to ventilation systems.

But for most parents in Beijing, even if some schools are equipped with air purifying devices, it is far from enough.

Lu Ying, a mother of a 6th grade student in Haidian district, is one of them.

"I didn't send my daughter to school the past two days. I am not sure about the air quality there. I think if the school can't match with air quality standards, they should suspend some classes under such bad air condition. I don't know why the school is still open today, maybe it's because now is the end of term."

Beijing has issued and extended an orange alert for heavy air pollution as persistent smog continues to shroud the Chinese capital.

All outdoor courses and activities at schools, kindergartens and other centers for children have been canceled as a result.

Lu Ying says 40 students in her daughter's class are sharing only one small purifier in a big classroom.

Wang Dian, key account manager of IQ air, which specializes in air purifying solutions, suggests that parents be rational regarding ventilation systems, saying that this technology alone may not be helpful enough.

"An air ventilation system is just a primary filtration. The filtration is not fine enough. It can't filter most harmful substances. This is because the air outside is bad. "

He says when it comes to space with high density of occupancy, like schools in Beijing, more purifiers should be a better choice.

So far, 8 primary and middle schools and kindergartens in the city's Dongcheng district are confirmed to be part of the pilot scheme to add air purifiers.

The municipal education authority also says all districts should be open to expert opinions on the subject and push ahead with the program in an orderly fashion.