Protect: Air/Outdoor Air Quality

Protect: Air / Implement a No Idling Policy

SC DHEC’s Office of Air Quality can mentor a Protect: Air project for your school . . .

B2 (Breathe Better / No Idling) Project Steps:

  1. Get your school administrator’s support and ask that the school develop and implement a VOLUNTARY ANTI-IDLING POLICY FOR CARS.   Also, contact your transportation manager and/or superintendent to establish a district-wide MANDATORY ANTI-IDLING POLICY FOR BUSES.
  2. Educate car drivers, parents and guardians of the importance of not running their engine while waiting to pick up students.  The only time a vehicle needs to be on is when it is moving.
  3.  Improve dismissal procedure to minimize running engines.
  4. Encourage carpooling or vanpooling to help reduce vehicle traffic.
  5. Promote your anti-idling initiative through your local school newsletters, distribute fact sheets, window clings and pledge cards for drivers, post “no idling” signs and posters on your school campus.
  6. Tally and report the number of vehicles idling during the school year.

Ozone Flag Project:

To participate contact Green Steps mentor, Adey Olotosi. This project helps children, parents, school personnel and the community be aware of daily air quality conditions using colored flags. Each day, a flag is raised in front of participating schools that signals the level of air pollution for that day. At the same time educate your school family about ways to keep air pollution low.

Protect: Air Resources:

For more information about air quality contact Green Steps mentors:
LESLIE COOLIDGE (B2 Campaign and School Flag program)

Facts about outdoor air quality

  • U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) studies show that 24 million children spend 2 billion hours on 600,000 school buses annually. More than 99% of these school buses use diesel fuel.
  • The Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates that 7.1 million U.S. children have asthma, symptoms of which are increased with exposure to diesel exhaust.
  • Approximately, 90,000 South Carolina children have asthma, based on 2007 data (DHEC). It is the leading cause of children’s hospitalizations and a major cause of school absenteeism.
  • Diesel exhaust can produce allergy symptoms including inflammation and irritation of airways. Pollutants in the exhaust can worsen symptoms in people with chronic bronchitis, emphysema, pneumonia, and heart disease. It can also increase the risk of infections and cancer over time.
  • Children are especially vulnerable to air pollution because their lungs are still developing and they breathe about 50% more than adults.
  • The EPA has determined that diesel fumes contain 40 toxic chemicals, including 15 carcinogens. Pollutants in vehicle exhaust also contribute to environmental problems such as climate change, acid rain, and smog.
  • Reducing air pollution outside a school also reduces air pollution inside that school.
  • Unnecessary idling is a waste of fuel and money and can cause extra engine wear-and-tear over time. A single school bus driver could save $100 per year just by cutting out 15 minutes of idling each day (based on $4 per gallon diesel).
  • Parent drivers can also save money by reducing their idling time. Contrary to popular belief, idling for just 30 seconds uses more gasoline than restarting the car.