Schools Doing Their Part To Improve Air Quality

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School-based idle reduction program continues to build on its success in lowering emissions in Colorado.

11 schools reduced carbon emissions by 67% --the equivalent of 168,000 cigarettes

During the 2013-14 academic year, eleven schools around Colorado participated in the Clean Air for Schools: Engines Off! (CASEO) program and were able to achieve significant reductions in vehicle-based air pollutants on their respective campuses. This idle-reduction program is managed by the American Lung Association in Colorado and is supported by a consortium of partners including the Colorado Department of Transportation (CDOT), International Paper Foundation, Kaiser Permanente and National Jewish Health.

Participating schools were located in the counties of Adams, Arapahoe, Boulder, Denver, Douglas, Garfield and Mesa. On average, the 11 schools reduced emissions by 67% - this is the carbon monoxide equivalent of over 168,000 individual cigarettes no longer being smoked each day!

Idle reduction efforts are particularly important in school zones due to the impacts of exhaust on children’s lungs. “Human lungs develop until the age of 18, and exposure to excess exhaust and smoke can stunt lung growth as well as contribute to many lung disorders, including asthma,” said Kim Tyrrell, Air Quality Programs Manager at the American Lung Association in Colorado. Children are more at risk due to their faster rates of respiration and the amount of time they spend playing outdoors.

Jill Schlaefer, Air Quality and Noise Programs Manager at CDOT commented, “The continued CASEO effort in reducing idling emissions and changing parent driving behaviors is such as important facet of improving the air quality environment around our schools and is a program Colorado Department of Transportation is very proud to help support!”

The CASEO program was launched in 2008 and has since provided education and support for 30 schools. The CASEO program is an education and intervention program conducted at elementary and middle schools to increase awareness about the harmful impacts of idling, especially around young children, and integrate behavior-changing mechanisms into the school culture. The year-long program includes collection and analysis of emissions data in and around school properties, an educational campaign spearheaded by school faculty and students, and student-led interventions including securing parent pledges and in-classroom presentations (at the middle school level).

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Kim Tyrrell
American Lung Association
+1 303-389-6758
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