Breathe Melbourne is an Australian-first citizen science study measuring children’s exposure to air pollution on their school commute. The project is led by Deakin University in collaboration with a number of partners including Dyson, who provide the air quality monitoring technology.

The project aims to nurture children’s scientific curiosity, raise community awareness about air quality and inform government policy in tackling air pollution levels in cities.

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Breathe Melbourne recruits primary school children from Melbourne’s inner west as citizen scientists to collect air pollution data. They will use the data to find behavioural ways to lower their air pollution exposure.

The project will involve parent surveys, a Dyson air quality monitoring backpack study and the pilot of an education campaign called Idle Off.

Breathe Melbourne is a government and industry partnership led by Deakin University. Our partners are Dyson and the Victorian State Government.

Backpack study

Students and teachers from six primary schools in Melbourne’s inner west will wear Dyson’s air quality backpack to capture air pollution data on their daily school commutes. Deakin University researchers will collaborate with participating students to use their data to identify behavioural solutions to improve the quality of the air they breathe. Students will also complete a survey to identify how the study has impacted their understanding of air pollution and engagement in science and technology. Parents across schools will be invited to take part in anonymous online surveys that will help us learn about air quality views, methods of school transport, and asthma care.

Spotswood Primary is excited to be a part of the Breathe Melbourne project! Living and learning close by to some of Melbourne’s busiest roads, it is important for us to understand more about the quality of the air in our local area. We are passionate to find out about choices we can make to have a positive impact on the air quality in our community and look after our health.

'Idle Off' Pilot

In addition to the backpack study, two of the participating primary schools will be involved in the ‘Idle Off’ Pilot project which seeks to educate individuals on the risks of idling vehicles and encourage parents to turn off their engines when not using them, to help reduce air quality and improve student health.

Findings from the Breathe Melbourne study will point children, parents and the school community to behaviours that reduce air pollution exposure.

Watch the project video


Kate Lycett
Yichao Wang
Mallery Crowe
Georgie Frykberg
Aria Huang

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