Rila Harlequin, Shanomae Rose & Paul Cheddie
Published: November 4, 2020 • Book of Abstracts – Student Research, Volume 1
Rila Harlequin ✉️ Shanomae Rose Department of Environmental Studies. Faculty of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of Guyana –Turkeyen Campus. Greater Georgetown, Guyana.
Paul Cheddie Department of Medical Technology. Faculty of Health Sciences. University of Guyana – Turkeyen Campus. Greater Georgetown, Guyana.
The quality of air in schools is vital because children spend approximately 5-8 hours in school daily. Based on the reviewed literature, most schools recorded poor indoor air quality due to elevated levels of bioaerosols and fine particulate matter (PM2.5) that contributed to severe illnesses in children. This research investigated the indoor air quality at two nursery schools. A quantitative design was employed using the data collection instruments Airbeam2, culture media plates, and observation checklists. The study duration was 4-hours, and revealed that children were exposed to PM2.5 concentrations above and slightly below the World Health Organisation (WHO) 24-hour limit (i.e. 25 µg/m³). The ANOVA test showed statistically significant differences between the schools’ PM2.5 mean concentrations. Moreover, based on the WHO standards, the indoor air quality at both schools was unacceptable due to markedly high bacterial levels (>500 CFU/m³). Although fungi levels did not exceed the established WHO limit (<1000 CFU/m³) in most cases, substantial fungi were found within the indoor air of both schools, which can be harmful to children. The dominant bacteria genera were gram-positive cocci and gram-positive bacilli, while the dominant culturable fungal types were Cladosporium herbarum and Chrysonilia sp. School A (53.79%) and School B (59.09%) were moderately compliant to standards for a safe classroom environment; however, their compliance percentages fell within the low end of the scale (50-70%). These results indicated that children are exposed to elevated levels of indoor air pollutants, which may cause health implications such as cardiovascular diseases and respiratory and urinary tract infections.
Keywords: Indoor air quality; health implications, school children