Leonardo Academy Cleans the Air for School Children in Illinois and Wisconsin
School buses are ideal in terms of road safety for children, but they are not as safe when it comes to the air around them since they run on diesel. The inhalation of diesel emissions can cause health problems such as chest pain, coughing, throat irritation and congestion and can worsen bronchitis, emphysema and asthma. It is worse for children because they breathe more air relative to their body weight and their respiratory systems are still developing.
For this reason, Leonardo Academy has used a grant it received from the Environmental Protection Agency under the Diesel Emissions Reduction National Program to assist three school-bus companies and one metropolitan transit authority in Illinois and Wisconsin in retrofitting several buses with filters to reduce harmful emissions. Altogether, nearly one million children ride over 17,000 school buses in those areas, the vast majorities of which are powered by diesel fuel with high amounts of exhaust emissions.
Kaneland Community School District in Illinois, for example, is installing diesel particulate filters (DPFs) in three school buses, which will reduce emissions of particulate matter, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide by 60 to 90 percent. Illinois Central School Bus, which serves students in Joliet, Illinois and Gary, Indiana, has installed DPFs in combination with verified idle reduction technologies in 10 buses providing service to school districts in Illinois and Indiana. Elsewhere, Hortonville Area School District has installed a DPF in combination with idle reduction technology for one of its model year 2005 school buses.
Part of the grant money is also going to help Kenosha Area Transit (KAT) in Wisconsin reduce its commuter bus emissions. KAT is a city-owned public transportation agency that maintains a fleet of 68 buses operating on 10 bus routes, with an approximate annual ridership of 1.5 million commuters. Leonardo Academy says Kenosha’s population is disproportionally exposed to the vehicle emissions due to high traffic volume between the large metropolitan areas (Chicago and Milwaukee) nearby. KAT has incorporated DPFs into five transit buses operating in and around the city of Kenosha.
“Part of Leonardo Academy’s goal in advocating the EPA’s National Clean Diesel Campaign is to improve air quality for our most vulnerable populations. Other than family cars, school buses are the form of transportation that children use most often. By helping school bus companies reduce the emissions from their buses, we are helping our children achieve healthier futures while helping the bus companies thrive,” said Michael Arny, President of Leonardo Academy.
Image credit: Leonard Academy