PARENTS: Act Now Before Funds Run Out for Cleaner School Buses

Parents, if your children are riding to school in buses built before 2007, the air they’re breathing inside the bus may contain more than five to ten times higher the diesel pollution found outside the bus. Alarming, isn’t it?

Even more disturbing are the studies showing that these older school bus diesel engines spew nearly 40 toxic substances, smog-forming emissions and particulate matter, better known as soot.  Your children, who breathe in more air per pound of body weight than adults, are at an even higher health risk because their lungs are still developing.

Why am I telling you this? Because there’s hope on the horizon for those school districts that act fast and apply for new funding that could help make their school buses cleaner.

The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality (TCEQ) announced Oct. 29 that $9 million was available for public and charter schools that apply – first-come, first-served – for grants to retrofit eligible diesel-powered school buses with emissions-reduction technology. In simpler terms, there’s money to make these older school buses cleaner – and it’s at no cost to the districts themselves.

Parents, you can help make a difference by:

  • Encouraging your school district officials (e.g., superintendent, transportation directors) to apply now for these funds;
  • Sharing this information with friends and family to help spread the word;
  • Urging your Texas state legislators to increase funding during the next session (2011);
  • Starting a clean school bus campaign in your neighborhood; or
  • Launching an anti-idling campaign by asking your child’s bus driver to turn the engine off when waiting for students and also acting as a good role model by not leaving your own car engine idling.

Texas children are the future and their good health matters to us all. For more information, visit www.cleanbuses.org/texas.

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