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20% decrease in nitrogen dioxide pollutant can increase memory of school-kids by 6.1%: Study finds

A twenty percent decrease in pollution levels can increase the learning of school-going children and put them ahead by almost a month.

Experts suggest that if the air pollution levels outside school can be decreased, then we will see a boost in the memories of students.

A DailyMail report said that a research conducted by the England’s University of Manchester says that if vehicular pollution, mainly nitrogen dioxide, is cut by a fifth then the memory of school students can be improved by 6.1 percent.




The research is about the pollutant nitrogen dioxide which is primarily emitted by industries or traffic fumes.

An environmental health expert at the University of Manchester, Professor Martie van Tongeren said about the research that there is sufficient evidence to prove that pollution can affect the cognitive development of children.

This may adversely affect their learning as well. “Policies should be set out by ministers to tackle this urgent challenge, immediately,” he said.



The development of a child’s brain may get affected by the pollutant. Researchers have not specifically tested the ability of British schoolchildren but the research is based on a previous study conducted on children in Spain who were getting exposed to higher levels of pollutants outside their school.

Air pollution has become a cause of concern as more and more studies prove that besides causing respiratory illnesses, it can give rise to cognitive outcomes like a reduction in Intelligent Quotient (IQ) of the school children and other behavioural problems.

In fact, pollutants that are inhaled during pregnancy are said to cross the placenta and go to the foetus, affecting its brain development. This may cause lifelong effects on the child.