There are many ways to protect kids from diesel emissions, from establishing no-idling zones to replacing older buses. Parents, educators, administrators and governments all have roles to play.
Schools and communities across Canada are taking action to reduce exposure to diesel emissions. Be part of the change. Let’s make sure all children in Canada are learning, playing and growing in educational environments that get an ‘A for effort’ in reducing diesel emissions
What parents can do:
- Be vocal. Educate others about the health risks of diesel emissions.
- Talk with your school principal, the school board and/or your local elected official about ways to reduce diesel emissions in and around schools. This may include:
- establishing/enforcing policies to reduce idling and bus caravanning
- optimizing school bus routes and drop-off/pick-up locations
- switching to zero- or low-emission vehicle technologies.
What schools can do:
- Evaluate bus loading zones to reduce diesel emissions near playgrounds or the school’s fresh air intake.
- Ask school maintenance staff to adjust the timing of fresh air intake to avoid drawing in contaminated air during busy drop-off/pick-up times or when local traffic is heavy.
- Organize buses loading/unloading routines to minimize caravanning and idling.
- Advocate for the assessment and improvement of current practices with school board administrators and other decision-makers.
What school boards and other decision-makers can do:
- Assess bus routes and traffic in the district to ensure travel time and idling are minimized.
- When possible, choose cleaner alternatives such as electric buses.
- If diesel buses continue to be used, ensure that the most advanced emission control technologies are in place. Consider the use of electric heaters that keep buses warm and windows defrosted without idling.
- Ensure that older buses have been retrofitted to reduce emissions, and set a schedule for their phase-out.
- Revise procurement criteria such that only companies with best-in-class emission levels are granted bussing contracts.
- Work with transportation companies to ensure all school bus drivers receive training on idling reduction and other means of reducing children’s exposure.
Click poster (or use link below) to view full size and to download:
4 ACTIONS mini-poster
#1. STOP IDLING
Turn the engines off while school buses are waiting in loading zones or near school grounds.
#2. AVOID BUS ‘CARAVANNING’
Ensure there is a gap between buses during travel and in loading zones to keep the exhaust of one bus from polluting the cabin air of another.
#3. CHANGE THE TIMING OF SCHOOL VENTILATION
Help reduce the infiltration of diesel bus and other vehicle emissions into schools by ensuring that high ventilation periods do not occur during busy loading/unloading times or rush hour.
#4. UPGRADE AND REPLACE OLD BUSES
Emissions from older buses can be improved with pollution control upgrades, and new technology diesel engines offer vastly improved emissions performance. Best of all, replace old diesel vehicles with new buses powered by cleaner energy such as electricity.
By shifting from outmoded diesel engines towards a cleaner transportation future, we can show our kids that we care about their health and the sustainability of our planet.
FIND OUT MORE ABOUT DIESEL AND WHAT YOU CAN DO: visit healthyschoolsday.ca
Healthy Schools Day
Promoting healthy learning environments for children and youth