Washington State Cleans Up Its School Buses

Washington state has launched an ambitious program to retrofit its diesel school buses with devices that curb pollution. Throughout the country, public health advocates and parents alike have grown concerned about school buses’ dirty emissions, which can contribute to a range of health problems, particularly in children, whose lungs are still developing. Four years from now, the U.S. EPA will require that new buses include exhaust-cleansing equipment, but that won’t help kids now, so Washington is trying to get a jump on the problem. The state aims to retrofit 5,000 of its 9,000 public school buses over the next five years. “It’s a great accomplishment,” said Janis Hastings of the federal Office of Air Quality’s regional office. “If you’re a kid and you’re standing next to that bus for 10 minutes a day, that’s a big deal. They’re not having to breathe that dirty smoke.”