School has started! Kids are getting to know new teachers and classmates, and parents are wondering what to do with all their extra time (just kidding about that last part). For some kids and their parents, they may be getting to know a new school or it may be a return to see familiar faces you’ve missed seeing over the summer. Whatever the case it offers an opportunity for us all to check on our daily routine and how it impacts the air our kids breathe.
Some families are lucky enough to be able to walk or bike to school, which helps keep our air cleaner. Others have to drive – but did you know that idling just one car for five minutes per day outside your child’s school can emit as many as 25 pounds of harmful air pollutants and 260 pounds of carbon dioxide a year? Throughout the Denver Metro area, idling is responsible for an estimated 40,000 tons of harmful air pollution a year and 400,000 tons of CO2 emissions. This results in over 40 million gallons of fuel wasted while idling, costing area residences and businesses over $100 million dollars a year.
That’s why the Clean Air at Schools: Engines Off! (CASEO) program is so important! CASEO aims to reduce air pollution at schools in Colorado by working with parents and school administrators to reduce idling vehicles in pick up areas outside schools. Parents and buses are most commonly idling right next to the playground where children are playing – and of course running around breathing in pollutants. CASEO provides great information, signs to post in pick up areas to raise awareness and even works with school districts to upgrade and retrofit their diesel school buses.
If you drive your kids to school, the easiest way to make a difference is to turn your engine off while you wait. In fact, it’s recommended to turn off your engine anytime your car will be stopped for 30 seconds or more. For an even bigger impact you can work with your school to take additional steps school-wide. Check out their website for more info. and tools to help.
Help make a difference for all our kids – learn more about CASEO today!