Indoor pollution at school should be taken seriously
Monday marked the start of a new school year for primary and secondary schools nationwide. However, about 1,000 pupils in Nanyou Primary School, Shenzhen, did not go to school because their classroom had been newly decorated and their parents were worried formaldehyde might harm their health. Thepaper.cn comments:
Schools usually redecorate classrooms in summer vacation. By letting children study in the newly painted classrooms, they can save the trouble of arranging additional classrooms.
However, many parents believe that newly decorated rooms pose health risk to those studying in them.
Indoor pollution in classrooms has become a social issue, which is directly related to the health and safety of children, and it is a public health issue that must be taken seriously and not treated as isolated "cases". Ignoring it may have catastrophic consequences.
At present, the Design Code for Primary and Secondary Schools does not have specific and strict regulations covering schools' indoor air quality, but only requires compliance with general indoor air regulations. As a result, schools tend to tell parents that the air quality inside their classrooms is OK. However, one incident after another proves specific standards are needed to better protect people's health.
What happened in Shenzhen is not an isolated incident.
In the face of the public health issue a comprehensive solution must be worked out, detailing who will organize and conduct air quality tests to show that newly decorated classrooms are safe to use and clarifying schools' legal responsibilities.