Air



Une première en son genre au Canada!

Au Canada, les écoles sont de plus en plus préocuppées par les problèmes de santé reliés à l'environnement.


L'asthme est à la hausse chez les enfants d'âge scolaire et les problèmes environnmentaux à l'intérieur des bâtisses peuvent déclancher les crises d'asthme. 


Un nouveau programme scolaire visant à améliorer la qualtié de l'air à l'intérieur et à l'extérieur de l'école oblige maintenant les chauffeurs d'autobus à arrêter leur engins lorsque c'est possible. 


De plus, les écoles encouragent également les visiteurs d'arrêter le moteur de leur véhicule. 


En octobre dernier, ce programme unique en son genre au Canada a été lancé à travers toute la province du Nouveau-Brunswick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The first of its kind in Canada!


Jane O'Rourke
Environmental Program Coordinator 
New Brunswick Lung Association
November 2005

nvironmental health issues are of concern to schools across Canada. Asthma is on the rise among school-age children and indoor environmental problems often trigger asthma episodes. A healthy school environment, both indoors and out, contributes to a favorable learning environment to students as well as a sense of comfort and well being for all school occupants.  The Healthy School Program, sponsored by Environment Canada's EcoAction program and the New Brunswick Departments of Education and Health and Wellness, enables schools to identify and resolve basic air quality concerns "in-house" at little or no cost.  The aim of the program is to treat the school as a whole, improving both its indoor and outdoor environments.

One initiative that has been most successful is the reduction of school bus idling. Initial observations at a number of schools indicated that some buses were arriving as much as 30 minutes before dismissal time and idling the entire time while waiting for the students. Not only was this creating air quality problems outside the schools, the diesel fumes were entering the buildings through windows, doors and ventilation systems.


(Photo: State of New Jersey)

While simply turning off the engines to reduce the amount of idling sounded like a logical solution, there were a number of questions that first had to be answered: Would the diesel engines start after they had been turned off for several minutes? Would the required flashing safety lights wear down the batteries? Would the windows frost up if the engines were turned off? What would happen on winter days with extreme temperatures?

With the cooperation of School District 6, it was decided that, as a trial, the bus drivers at one school would turn off their engines upon arrival at the end of the school day for a specific number of weeks. Not encountering any major problems, the trial was expanded to two more schools in the district, where 19 buses were involved. Again, there were no major problems. As a result, a district-wide no idling policy was implemented for school buses in this district in May 2002. Hearing of this success, a number of other school districts also introduced no-idling policies. There was, however, no uniform policy for all districts. Again, in cooperation with the Department of Education, a draft was submitted to the appropriate personnel for review and revision. As a result, in October, 2005, the Minister announced a province-wide idling ban for all school buses - the first of its kind in Canada!


( Photo: Government of Canada)

In addition to our work with buses, we are continuously encouraging schools to reduce visitor idling. Many schools have created parking areas located away from the buildings, forcing parents and visitors to turn off their engines when they come to pick up their children. We have also distributed anti-idling bookmarks, windshield stickers and driveway signs to schools to serve as reminders for parents. Because of the turnover of students and parents at a school, education and awareness must be ongoing.

There are also a number of other environmental health initiatives that schools might be interested in if they would like to participate in the Healthy School Program. Materials are provided by the Lung Association or can be downloaded from the web site.



(Photo: Government of Canada)


For more information, contact the 
New Brunswick Lung Association at
(506) 455-8961,
or visit the site at www.nb.lung.ca/schools