Back To School Tips For Cleaner Air

Article courtesy of the Clean Air Partnership

With the summer season over, children across the region are now settling into their back-to-school routines. If you’re one of the many parents who drive their children to school each day, now is a great time to consider other transportation options that can help reduce the emissions that lead to air pollution, while also helping to improve lung health across the St. Louis area.

The following tips can help make the school commute a more air quality-friendly one:

Walk or bike to class: For kids that live close to school, walking and biking are great commuting options that also offer an opportunity to get some exercise, whenever weather and air quality conditions are favorable.

Encourage the kids to ride the bus: For those who live near a school bus route, the bus can offer an eco-friendly way to get to class, especially as more districts purchase lower pollution buses.

Share the ride to school: If driving to school is the only option for getting there, work with neighbors to organize carpools to reduce emissions and also help parents and students save money on gas.

Avoid unnecessary idling: Idling engines produce toxic pollution that is known to cause serious health concerns. Exposure to car exhaust can also aggravate asthma symptoms. And with asthma ranking as the most common chronic illness in children, vehicle idling can be especially harmful to kids. When dropping the kids off, avoid idling parking lots, bus and carpool lanes and delivery areas.

“As the hustle and bustle of the school year begins, air quality isn’t often top of mind, but small changes in the way we transport the kids to and from school can play an important role in keeping the air clean and helping area residents breathe easier,” said Susannah Fuchs, Director, Clean Air, for the American Lung Association in Missouri and spokesperson for the Clean Air Partnership. “These actions are important for protecting the health of area youth, who are especially vulnerable to the effects of poor air quality.”

To access a wealth of air quality information and tips designed to help area residents do their share for cleaner air, parents and kids are encouraged to visit the Clean Air Partnership’s newly updated website at www.cleanair-stlouis.com. Individuals can also find additional air quality information on the Clean Air Partnership’s Facebook page or on Twitter @gatewaycleanair.