By Barbara Kessler
Green Right Now

The Earth Day Network, the Clean Air Campaign and UPS have launched a campaign that challenges an American tradition – idling your car outside the neighborhood school while waiting to scoop up the munchkins.

The groups are targeting active idlers because the practice needlessly pollutes the air, contributing to global warming and aggravating kids’ respiratory health issues.

UPS is funding the effort with a $350,000 grant that helps supply students, teachers, parents and community leaders with “toolkits” and educational material for bus drivers and parents. Schools can get signs for car pool lanes, educational material for children and curriculum guides for teachers at the EDN website.

“Turning off your engine while waiting to pick up your child is such a simple step to help everyone breathe cleaner air, save money on gas and reduce emissions all at the same time,” said Kathleen Rogers, president of Earth Day Network, in a news release announcing the program today.

“Vehicle idling wastes fuel and money. In fact, idling for 30 seconds uses more fuel than restarting your engine, and idling for 10 minutes a day wastes an average of 24.6 gallons of gas per year.” (Tell that to our crossing guard and her idling truck!)

It almost goes without saying, but kids are more affected by this ambient air pollution than anyone, because their lungs are still developing.

“In fact, particle pollution and ground level ozone and can aggravate asthma and contribute to increased upper-respiratory infections,” says Kevin Green, executive director of The Clean Air Campaign.

For Atlanta-based UPS, the national program is an expansion of a previous partnership with the Clean Air Campaign in Georgia. The Clean Air Campaign is a Georgia non-profit that works with employers to help find commuting solutions, reduce highway congestion and improve air quality.

Earth Day Network is the clearinghouse for Earth Day, with thousands of partner organizations in 174 countries.

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