No Idling Zone... Little lungs at work

No Idling Zone... Little lungs at work

Anti-idling programs help "clear the air" for Gwinnett schoolchildren and citizens

Gwinnett County Public Schools (GCPS), Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful, and The Clean Air Campaign are working together to create a healthier environment for students, faculty and the entire community. This year, 10 schools are piloting an anti-idling initiative— “Don’t Stand Idle” —to help reduce the harmful emissions that result from excessive idling for vehicles in the “car rider line” at the end of the school day.

Education efforts will focus on air quality issues and the advantages of participation. Signs remind drivers of the schools anti-idling commitment. The schools also are sharing information about harmful pollutants such as carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and particulate matter, all directly contribute to smog formation. SurPrize Patrols will reward drivers who are not idling as they monitor idling levels throughout the year at the pilot schools.

Idling data from May 2007 will be compared to May 2008 data to measure effectiveness. Typically, about 60% of vehicles waiting in the “car rider line” at the end of the school day are idling. The goal is to reduce idling by 30% or more.

Piloting the program are the following GCPS elementary schools: Arcado, Duncan Creek, J.G. Dyer, Fort Daniel, Jackson, Kanoheda, McKendree, Sugar Hill, Sycamore, and K.E. Taylor.

Two other Gwinnett elementary schools— R.D. Head and Rebecca Minor— have initiated anti-idling projects and other pollution-reduction activities through their participation in Better Air Schools with The Clean Air Campaign. Head Elementary’s long-running campaign has reduced idling below 5%. The school credits the program’s success to strong parent participation and an involved student body that has taken the environmental message to heart.

Of course, your children don’t have to attend an “anti-idling” school for you to participate. All you have to do is flip the ignition switch to “off” when you’re waiting in the car rider line or at the ballpark. Better yet, start a carpool with your neighbors or put your student on the school bus (the most efficient “carpool” in the county).
At R.D. Head Elementary, the school educates parents in the car rider line on the benefits of not "standing idle."
The benefits of not idling go beyond a healthier environment. Experts says that restarting your engine wastes less gas than idling for 30 seconds and less idling reduces the wear and tear on your engine. So, when you “don’t stand idle,” you’re doing something good for the air and for your car.

Learn more about anti-idling initiatives, Better Air Schools, and other educational projects of The Clean Air Campaign, a nonprofit organization in the community, when you click here. Click here for more on the partnership between GCPS and Gwinnett Clean & Beautiful.