Domes give kids chance to ex­er­cise in clean air

China Daily (Canada) - - CHINA - By ZHANG YUE zhangyue@chi­

With Bei­jing ed­u­ca­tion au­thor­i­ties urg­ing schools to can­cel out­door ac­tiv­i­ties when pol­lu­tion level alerts hit or­ange, some in­ter­na­tional schools in the cap­i­tal are build­ing fa­cil­i­ties to en­sure chil­dren can ex­er­cise in cleaner air.

The color-coded alert sys­tem, in or­der of in­creas­ing sever­ity, is blue, yel­low, or­ange and red.

In or­der to en­sure chil­dren do not have to cut down their out­door ac­tiv­i­ties due to air qual­ity, in­ter­na­tional schools in Bei­jing are spend­ing tens of mil­lions of yuan build­ing air domes — large en­closed ar­eas with fil­tered air.

The Western Academy of Bei­jing, an in­ter­na­tional school in Chaoyang district, con­structed a cam­pus dome in Jan­uary that cov­ers 1,000 square me­ters.

“The de­sign and con­struc­tion of the dome took about six months; three wait­ing for the re­quired ma­te­ri­als to be trans­ported here from the US and three con­struct­ing it,” said Johnny Whang, the school’s property man­ager.

The dome, named Tiger L’Air, was built on the school’s ten­nis court, and has an air pu­ri­fier on one side, said Gor­don Gao, gen­eral man­ager of ASATI (Bei­jing) Air Dome Co. Ltd, a US com­pany in charge of de­sign­ing and con­struct­ing the dome.

About half of the dome’s ma­te­ri­als were pur­chased from the United States, Gao said.

The com­pany en­tered the Chi­nese mar­ket in 2000.

“Most of our clients in the be­gin­ning wanted them for sports teams,” Gao said.

The In­ter­na­tional School of Bei­jing in Shunyi district was the first school to ap­proach ASATI in 2012. The ISB dome cost about 30 mil­lion yuan ($4.9 mil­lion), CNN re­ported.

Fei Cong, WAB school af­fairs di­rec­tor, said, “We built the dome to pro­tect chil­dren dur­ing haz­ardous weather in Bei­jing as some sports ac­tiv­i­ties, such as soc­cer, had to be can­celed.’’

WAB stu­dents have about three PE classes ev­ery week, not in­clud­ing or­ga­nized out­door ac­tiv­i­ties, which usu­ally take place at 3:30 pm.

Fei said WAB staff paid sev­eral vis­its to IBS to learn how the dome is best uti­lized.

Stu­dents and par­ents ap­pre­ci­ated the op­tions the new fa­cil­ity pro­vides.

On Feb 25, when the AQI in Bei­jing ex­ceeded 300 for most of the day, the air qual­ity mon­i­tor in­side the dome showed the AQI was just 4, Fei said.

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