Action to protect children from diesel emissions

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.


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4 ACTIONS mini-poster