Sunday, April 5, 2009
33 of its 1,097 Buses Retrofitted
The air quality in our school buses is miserable and directly contributes to many students getting asthma and other respiratory problems. If you are a parent with a child with a respiratory question, you understand how grave this issue is. If you do not, talk to other parents you know and see if any have children with respiratory issues, have a cup of coffee with them and discuss it. It's a tough, tough burden to bear.
In DeKalb, only 3 percent of the school bus fleet has been retro-fitted with emissions controls. THREE PERCENT! This should be a top priority, but the district is taking its sweet ole time, relying on grants and praying the state steps up (fat chance).
You see, in the DeKalb County School System, it is much more important to have a bloated, wasteful central office than it is to have buses that don't leach diesel fumes into the school bus cabin. David Guillory, and his wife, who also works for DCSS, each make well over $100,000 per year with sweet pensions and bene's, and just happen to be the son-in-law and daughter of former board member Frances Edwards. In fact, the Transportation Department in DCSS is very, very TOP HEAVY and overstaffed.
I "get it" that the school system's administration has a million things to deal with. But retrofitting school buses is an easy no-brainer, and once it's done, it's done. It may and should be categorized a capital imporovement and qualify under SPLOST. And there are resources right here. The Centers for Disease Control is located in DeKalb, as is the Rollins School of Public Health at Emory University. DeKalb should and could be a leader in this area.
But in what area is the Dekalb County School System a leader in???
Students exposed to toxic bus exhaust fumes
The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Sunday, April 05, 2009
Most other metro Atlanta school districts want to retrofit their buses, both to improve air in the cabin and outdoors.
The DeKalb County School System retrofitted 33 of its 1,097 buses and is seeking money to do more, said David Guillory, the district’s executive director of transportation.
Last year the district sent two buses — one retrofitted, the other not — to the state Capitol to demonstrate to legislators the importance of providing matching funds to allow schools access to federal money.
This year, various grant programs are being offered that cover 100 percent of the retrofitting costs.
Guillory said DeKalb will be applying.
Air in older buses is dirtier; a health risk
Students who ride older school buses that haven’t been retrofitted with emissions controls are being exposed to diesel particulates and gases.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says tiny diesel particles pose a significant health risk because they lodge in the lungs. Children, because their lungs are still developing, and all people with asthma, other respiratory problems, heart and lung disease are at greatest risk.
The EPA has determined that regularly breathing diesel exhaust is a likely lung cancer hazard and that it also can damage lungs in other ways.
“Parents need to be aware that the bus exhaust can cause some problems, or make their child’s asthma worse,” said Randy Baker, chairman of the respiratory therapy program at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta, where researchers are studying school bus idling and diesel particulates.
Children’s School Bus Exposure Study
Pollution from older diesel vehicles has health implications for everyone, especially children. By working together, we can reduce pollution from public school buses -- making sure that school buses are also a clean way for children to get to school. Clean School Bus USA brings together partners from business, education, transportation, and public-health organizations to work toward these goals:
-Encouraging policies and practices to eliminate unnecessary public school bus idling.
-Upgrading (“retrofitting”) buses that will remain in the fleet with better emission-control technologies and/or fueling them with cleaner fuels.
-Replacing the oldest buses in the fleet with new, less-polluting buses.
Posted by Open+Transparent at 10:23 AM