News Release 261

Department of Natural Resources, Springfield Public Schools partner to reduce unnecessary vehicle idling

Volume 38-261 (For Immediate Release)
Contact: Larry Archer
573-751-3807

JEFFERSON CITY, MO, APRIL 30, 2010 -- Every morning and afternoon at schools across Missouri, vehicles sit idling while parents wait to drop off or pick up their children. Besides wasting gas, unnecessary idling increases harmful emissions from vehicles. Controlling emissions is especially important in school areas as children are more susceptible to the health effects of emissions because their respiratory systems are still developing.

The Missouri Department of Natural Resources, Springfield Public Schools and the Ozarks Clean Air Alliance have partnered to reduce idling in and around the loading and unloading zones at all district schools.

On Friday, April 30, the department and Springfield Public Schools officially kicked off a campaign to reduce school-zone idling at all schools. The event featured speakers from both organizations at David Harrison Elementary School in Springfield.

Vehicle emissions contribute to unhealthy levels of fine particles, ozone and air toxics. Particle pollution is especially dangerous because it contains microscopic solids and liquid droplets that can get deep into the developing lungs of children. Reducing idling can have a noticeable effect in improving air quality at the loading and unloading zones as well as play an important part in improving the state’s overall air quality.

“Reducing idling makes sense not only from an economic view point since it will save gasoline, but also from an environmental perspective since it will reduce harmful emissions, help protect students’ health and improve air quality,” said Mark N. Templeton, Director of the Department of Natural Resources.

The school district’s campuses will feature “idle-free” zones. In these zones, motorists are encouraged to turn off their vehicles when waiting longer than half a minute. Special signs will mark the idle-free zones, and brochures will help to explain why it is important to reduce idling at schools.

“Our job is to provide a safe environment for our children to learn. Encouraging clean air practices is part of this,” said Dr. Norman Ridder, Superintendent of Springfield Public Schools.

Like many other school districts in Missouri, Springfield Public Schools have already implemented a policy for school buses to limit idling.

Other ways to reduce emissions from vehicles and improve air quality are:

For more information on what the department is doing to improve air quality in Missouri and the role Missourians play in improving air quality, call the department's Air Pollution Control Program at 800-361-4827 or 573-751-4817 or visit the department's website at dnr.mo.gov/env/apcp.

For more information on what Springfield Public Schools is doing to improve air quality for our children, contact Greg Pelkey, Sustainability and Energy Manager for the district at 417-523-0443 or email at gpelkey@spsmail.org.

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