This school year has been like no other. My four children have been at home with me in New Jersey, studying remotely due to COVID. I am dreaming of the day when they can all get back to school. But there’s one thing I don’t look forward to: My kids riding a dirty diesel school bus to get to school.
Millions of children still ride diesel-powered school buses, exposing them to harmful diesel pollution that can trigger asthma attacks and interfere with their ability to learn.
Today, Senators Cortez Masto (NV) and Murray (WA) and Representative Hayes (CT-5) introduced the Clean School Bus Act, legislation that would provide grants for school districts to purchase 100% clean electric school buses, along with the resources needed to install charging stations.
The bill prioritizes those communities most at risk from the harmful health impacts of diesel pollution, recognizing the disproportionate impact that pollution has on Black communities.
Diesel exhaust is a known human carcinogen. The tiny particles of pollution in diesel exhaust can lodge deep in the lungs and cause irritation. In addition to short-term problems like coughing, headaches, and nausea, breathing these fumes has been shown to damage both the lungs and the heart.
Even worse, diesel pollution inside the bus can be several times higher than outside the bus, because tailpipe pollution can seep inside the bus cabin and get trapped. That means that children may be getting an extra large dose of diesel pollution during their school commute.
Electric school buses solve this problem. They run on battery power, with no tailpipe emissions. That means no harmful diesel pollution, and no dangerous climate pollution either.
As a mom to school aged children, today’s school bus bill gives me hope that I can one day safely send my four young children to school, knowing that they are not breathing in harmful diesel pollution during their commute.