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Are the Air and Water Quality Safe at Flushing International High School?

September 15, 2019

By Lisbeth Cheng & Aicha Kane

In the last couple of weeks students have been examining the school community. Students were wondering about the air and water quality of F.I.H.S. It has been proven and tested that the air and water quality is good and safe. However, not all the people from the community agrees.

 

The Principal from F.I.H.S school Mr. Kevin said that the whole area of Flushing has a poor Air Quality. Because there are a lot of airplanes passing around (these are more carbon-intense than cars) that affects the community by burning fossil fuel causing air pollution. In addition what keep the school safe is that there are good ventilation either windows, AC (Air conditioner) or fans compared to other High Schools. The last time the air quality was tested was on July 8, 2018 and the result were safe.

Last year in 2018, 11 graders students during science class tested the air quality of the school by using different factors as the Air Quality Monitor that detects PM (Particulate Matter), VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and Formaldehyde. For example there was an experiment made by a group of students. Their experiment where focused on ventilation and Particulate Matter. Their experimental question was “ How does ventilation affect PM (Particulate Matter)?”

The graph shown above represent  the average of the control and experimental group of the three trials of PM2.5 in room 321. The lowest level of PM2.5 was Experimental group C with an average of 2.33ug/m3, the highest groups were Experimental group A and B, because both had the same result which was 2.7ug/m3, which also has the same result as the control group. Overall, the average amount of PM2.5 had minor changes because the amount of difference was low.

As a conclusion,  the air quality was a somewhat better because there were minor changes, which means that exchanging air between outdoor and indoor air can help to reduce particulate matter. The experiment was focused on PM2.5 because these are particles that can be inhaled and the size is generally 2.5 micrometers and smaller which is more harmful for human health since it can get into the lungs more easily and it can cause difficulty breathing. This experiment is related to indoor air pollution because health problems and respiratory diseases comes from different gases and solid and one of them is Particulate Matter (PM). The use of mechanical ventilation was one of the solutions to reduce PM indoors and if there would have been more ventilation then the amount of PM2.5 could have reduced more producing a better indoor air. 

There have been a lot of opinions when it comes to the water quality of the school. Normally there are few water fountains for each floor, in a total of 4 floors. “Every single water fountain work”- Tom said (Head Engineer). He explained that the school often tested the water quality, especially when it comes to holidays. Since the water has been kept for the whole day, they tend to let out all that water so clean water can fill in for the next day. All the water from water fountain comes from the city which is drinkable. 

“I do not drink from the water fountain because I don't trust it”- Jessie (Parent Coordinator of F.I.H.S.). This shows that even when the water quality was tested and it safe, not all the people from the school community feel safe drinking water from the water fountain. “ I don't drink from the water fountain” -add another staff directory, where he explains that he doesn't like to drink from the water fountain because he prefers to bring his own water bottle even when is bad for the environment. 

“I don't often drink from the water fountain, only sometimes because I don't feel comfortable drink from it”- a student from F.I.H.S said. This is surprising even for the school staff because water fountains are there for everyone to drink and they try their best to keep everything safe so people can feel comfortable and be able to trust it. 

“The water quality also depends on how old is the building”- Tom (Head Engineer) explaining that the water quality is better when the school are new because the pipes are cleaner and newer than an old school. “The most surprising was that the water was actually clean and safe to drink if you smell the water it kind funny, not safe but when I check all those chemical and teats paper was safe so it was actually surprising me”- Min Hye (12 grade science teacher). 

It is important to maintain the school clean and often have expert test the air and water of the school, since most of the time students and schools staff spend more than 8 hours inside. In order to keep everyone healthy and students to be aware of keeping the school community safe for everyone.