St. Louis County's anti-idling ordinance indicates motorists should not idle for more than 3 minutes. But students at Rockwood School District's Center for Creative Learning (CCL) would like to take this pro-health and anti-pollution measure a step further. A handful of CCL fourth graders presented a proposal for an anti-idling policy at Thursday's Rockwood Board of Education meeting.
Along with teacher Kathy Nuetzel, students Danielle Essman, Zak Mitra, Brayden Haas, A.J. Ohley and Rachel Heinzerling explained the health effects and environmental problems associated with this action.
Health implications of idling vehicles include a decrease in lung capacity, aggravation of asthma, and missed school days, stated the students at the board meeting.
From an environmental aspect, the students explained that the ozone pollutants from idling—which results from running a vehicle's motor while at a stop—stunts plant growth and causes Missouri's food-related plants, such as soybeans, to die.
The students indicated their research showed that 50 percent of the cars waiting to pick up Rockwood students were idling. They further stated that as a whole, St. Louis residents have never met the federal guideline for ozone containment.
CCL students presented that 2012 has been the worst ozone season in recent years, in addition to several interesting notations:
- St. Louis has a high incidence of asthma: 18 percent of the population
- St. Louis is ranked as a Top 10 asthma capital in the United States
- St. Louis is listed in American Lung Association's list of top cities for ozone
Rockwood board of education director Keith Kinder asked the students how many schools they checked for idling, and which educational level they believed might have the most idling engines. They said they only had evaluated those vehicles at CCL. They wagered that the district's high schools were contributing the most ozone pollution from idling.
Rockwood board of education directors voted Thursday to review the sample policy supplied by the CCL students.
Rockwood board of education director Steve Smith said he believed the students were emphasizing an important element related to the number of students that miss school due to asthma and Rockwood's reimbursement from the state associated with student attendance.