Today’s Green Apple Day of Service event “do a good deed, and you’ll get a filter and a seed” at Boston Latin School was a great success! 40 students and teachers from all grade levels showed up to receive their biodegradable cotton bandanna and decorate it with things such as face paint, Crayola markers, and glitter. They will be wearing the bandanna in school tomorrow, October 10th. While they were decorating the bandannas, we told them about our project creating biodegradable air pollution masks with seeds in them. They were very impressed.
In metropolitan areas in and around Boston alone, 23,646 adult cardiopulmonary deaths were the result of air pollution in a five year period. Across the US, 200,000 deaths per year are attributed to poisoning from car exhaust alone. The quality of air in buildings in and around the US is crucial to the health of people living throughout the country.
Our long term goal through this project is to create a biodegradable filter/mask that is used to improve human health through two methods. The first use is directly on GHG emitting sources through use as air filters and personal face masks. The second use comes after the filters/masks are composted. They fertilize a plant seed which will have been embedded in each filter/mask. The filters/masks absorb CO2 and other toxins at the source (or as people inhale) and act as additional carbon sinks – plants. Additionally, these masks and filters will be popular fashion statements as we promote health and ways that students can become directly involved in reducing CO2 and other atmospheric toxins that come from inefficient energy use.
The filters will be antimicrobial and trap gases and particles from the air. This is accomplished with natural, “recycled” materials such as coffee grounds and eggshells. The calcium in eggshells absorb CO2, creating calcium carbonate (limestone). Our secret natural formula will also include coffee grounds and other natural ingredients.
The cotton material was originally in a large sheet, which was cut into 15 15 squares. We had a variety of scissors there for people to use, with curves and zigzag shapes on the blade. Everybody came in right after school, at 2:20 pm, to Mr. Smiths room, 330. They sat down or stood around the edge of the classroom as we explained what we were all about. Once they started decorating the bandannas, we went around and decorated with them. The decorated bandannas turned out very nicely, with designs ranging from drawings of smiley faces to drawings of nature and green apples. At around 3:15 pm, people started to filter out of the room with their completed bandannas. The turnout was solid, and people were enthusiastic, which we were very pleased with!
Overall, it was a great experience being able to teach these people about climate change awareness, specifically an area of climate change awareness, air pollution, that they may not have known much about otherwise. It was fun being able to meet new people. At the end of the day, we can all say that given the opportunity, we would definitely do something like this again next year!
10/9/2014 – Written by Boston Latin School students Allegra Rollo, Andrew Yang, Brian O’Rourke and Victor Yang.