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Environment & Energy

Cleaning The Air, One School Bus At A Time

Julie Grant
The Allegheny Front

If you drive behind a diesel truck, you might not be surprised when it spews a big plume of smoke from the tailpipe. That can also happen behind a school bus. Pollution from school buses is bad for the kids on board, or anywhere nearby. But state and federal laws are starting to make some difference.

It’s 15 minutes before school lets out for the day, and buses are lined up on the street by a Pittsburgh school building. Some of them are idling: sitting there running the engine.

Rachel Filippini of GASP, the Group Against Smog and Pollution, says even if were below freezing, state law buses aren’t allowed to idle.

“Regardless of the temperature, the law says you have to turn off your engine within five minutes.”

Filippini says GASP has been monitoring buses in the Pittsburgh School District, to see if they’re following the state’s no idling law. They’re worried about kids’ health - on board the bus, and sitting in nearby classrooms, where diesel fumes can waft in. Filippini says the particles in diesel fumes are so tiny, they can make their way deep into the lungs and the blood.

Read more of this report at the website of our partner The Allegheny Front.