Learn about the quality of the air around us, and how it is affected by pollutants released into the atmosphere through human activities, such as transport and industry, as well as from natural sources.

Air quality in urban areas has improved significantly since the 1950s, but there are still some areas of towns and cities where the air quality is of concern. We have significantly reduced some pollutants through tighter controls on emissions. However, there is still a significant amount of work to be done.

The Environmental Science and Biology ‘codes’ underneath each link refer to the Higher and National 5 Resource guides produced by Education Scotland. These can be accessed in the ‘Resources’ section of bit.ly/glowsciences (N.B. you will need a glow log in to access.)

The Geography ‘codes’ listed below will link to the SQA Unit Specifications.

Early & first levels




Have a go

  • Air Quality Scotland - Mobile app - Download a free app for iPhone and Android keeping you updated about air pollution in Scotland.
  • OPAL Air Survey - Take part in the OPAL Air Survey and you can find out about air quality near you and help scientists answer important questions about the impacts of air quality across the UK.
  • Royal Geographical Society - Air quality survey - For teachers: In this survey resource from the Royal Geographical Society comparison is made between contrasting sites in the local area, identifying lichen species and using them as bio-indicators of air quality.


Second, third, fourth & senior levels



  • Scottish Air Quality - What is the air quality like in my area right now? - What is the air quality like in my area right now? Air pollution level updated hourly across Scotland.
  • Annual mean nitrogen dioxide (NO2) - Find out about nitrogen dioxide concentrations in your area. Nitrogen dioxide forms in air from the exhaust emissions from cars, buses, trucks and power plants. Click on the diagram to reveal a larger version.
  • Annual mean PM10 concentration - Find out about PM10 concentrations in your area. Particulate matter are tiny particles that are floating around in the air. Click on the image to view a larger version.
  • Mean monthly SO2 concentration - Find out about sulphur dioxide concentrations in your area. Click on the image to view a larger version.



  • OPAL - Lichen Distribution Maps - Where have nitrogen-sensitive lichens been found? How does this compare to nitrogen-tolerant species? This map from OPAL shows which types of lichens have been found in Air Surveys submitted up to December 2014.



  • London Air - Know your air. This App displays the latest air pollution levels recorded at over 100 monitoring stations across greater London. Maps, My Sites and Notifications keep you up to date with London's air quality where you are. Hourly and annual 20 metre resolution interactive pollution maps give you an unparalleled view of air quality where you are.





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