Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Stop school bus idling in Massachusetts; breathe better!

I remember walking my granddaughter to Rebecca Johnson School in Springfield and smelling the clouds of diesel exhaust a block before we got there. Picking her up after school, the whole circular entrance would be filled with school busses idling as they waited for kids to come out of school and get on board. The air was pretty unbreathable for me as a (short) adult, and I can just imagine what it was like for kids a foot lower to the ground.

Sen. Benjamin Downing, D-Pittsfield, introduced a bill to bring school bus idling to an end. The bill has passed the Senate and is now in the House of Representatives.

We have a huge asthma epidemic in this country, with significant health costs. Children's lungs are still developing and they are more affected by poor air quality than adults. But an anti-idling law for vehicles at schools would not only improve the air we and our children have to breathe, it would save each school district money at a time when every penny counts.

I talked to First Student, the company which transports most of Springfield's students to school, and asked them what their idling policy is. They said, No more than five minutes. The Environmental Protection Agency has a great fact sheet on the myths of school bus idling, and why busses don't need to idle at all; check it out.

Then, support Sen. Downing's bill by calling your legislators. If you don't know who your legislator is, or how to reach him/her, go to this site at the Mass Elections Division and type in your address. Take action!

1 comment:

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