Clearing the Air for Kids

Idling gets you nowhere. It's bad for the environment, and it could be even worse for your health. "It leads to all sorts of problems," says Lansing Mayor Virg Bernero. "It's been linked to asthma and lung disease." Enter the city's 'Clear the Air for Schoolkids' campaign, part of the Mayor's 'Go Green!' initiative, and a first step toward fighting bus fumes at Lansing schools by creating 'idle-free' zones." A reduction in vehicle emissions is particularly important in school zones because children are more susceptible to the adverse impacts of pollution," Bernero says. Idling vehicles release pollutants into the atmosphere and, in some cases, right into school buses. Studies show kids sitting in idling school buses ingest more pollutants than they would standing behind the tailpipe. "It's a major public health issue," says Maggie Striz Calnin, of the Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities Coalition. An issue the Greater Lansing Area Clean Cities Coalition and the Lansing School District are fighting. CATA is part of the fight for clean air, too--it has 10 electric hybrid buses on the roads and more to come. "Every new bus will be an electric hybrid bus," says CATA Executive Director Sandy Draggoo. The 'Clear the Air for Schoolkids' campaign also calls for retrofitting of current school bus fleets with new technology and cleaner fuels. But it's just as important and much easier for drivers to change their ways. "We need to put a question mark on the sort of habits that we've gotten into," explains Bernero. "We can create a lot of clean air by simply not running our cars and buses when we're not using them." That's a simple change that could really clear the air.


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