BREATHE: A feasibility study of green barriers to air pollution mitigation in school playgrounds

The urban landscape and its dynamics cause some of the most severe environmental and health problems. Air pollution caused by transportation along the cities has captured attention in the past

Maria standing near a busy road using her pollution measuring tool
Maria measuring particulate matter of 10 and 2.5 microns – 5 and 20 times smaller than the size of a human hair.

years for its harmful effects on health, especially affecting the most vulnerable age groups such as children. The BREATHE project aims to address the air pollution problem with a ‘nature-based solution’, by modifying the urban landscape through the addition of vegetation with certain traits that mitigate air contaminants.

Specifically, this is a project of environmental and social research, as well as, technological innovation which investigates the use of green barriers to mitigate air pollution and improve the health and well-being of children that are exposed to low quality air in their school playgrounds. The green barriers, which are vertical and horizontal spatial arrangements of various types of vegetation, will be installed next to the wall that delimits the playground with the street in two schools: one in Sheffield and one in Buenos Aires.

The impact of the green barriers on air quality, health and psychological well-being will be assessed through different metrics, as well as the feasibility of carrying out the project in a developing country. The outcomes and lessons learned will be communicated with the vision of reproducing the positives in the developed and developing world.

Maria’s green barriers are being installed in a local primary school

Maria and children from the school where the green barriers are in place


Maria del Carmen Redondo Bermudez


Prof Anna Jorgensen

Head of Department, Department of Landscape Architecture


Dr Juan Miguel Kanai

Department of Geography

Prof Beverley Inkson

Professor of Nanomaterials

Dr Ross Cameron

Senior Lecturer Landscape Management, Ecology & Design

Dr Maria Val Martin

Senior Scientist Leverhulme Centre for Climate Change Mitigation