Friday, May 26, 2006

A New Level of Duh

Your tax dollars at work, folks:
Most states aren't doing enough to protect children from the diesel exhaust many of them inhale while riding or waiting for school buses, an environmental advocacy group said in a report Wednesday.

No state received an A grade in the Union of Concerned Scientists' National School Bus Report Card, although it noted that many are working to cut school bus emissions, which can contribute to asthma and other respiratory ailments.

"School buses can be a major source of pollution exposure for children," said Patricia Monahan, an analyst for the group.

If you've every actually been near a school bus, this is not news to you.
Several states are using alternative-fuel buses, replacing older buses with cleaner-burning models or retrofitting buses with devices that trap emissions. A considerably more low-tech method also can reduce children's exposure to bus pollution, especially as they wait in the parking lot for a ride home.

How about walking? Bus pollution goes way down that way.

Seriously though, if schools have enough money to spend on "alternative-fuel buses," then perhaps all this talk of "underfunded schools" is not quite what it seems.


-Murphy said...

While I know I walked home after about ninth grade, most of my friends lived several miles from the school, making walking an option if they're resigned not to having too much of an after-school job. Still, you still walk through the polluted air to leave the school, so it's a bit of a wash.

As for the use of alternative fuel school vehicles, I'm down with that. I would imagine that in the states where that's being done, the vehicles are being purchased not strictly from the education funds, nor are individual schools buying them, so it's not applicable to the "underfunded schools" issue. I, for one, would be down with my tax dollars being used to make it such that the state vehicles are not that harsh on the environment and that could cut gasoline costs by being alternatively-fueled.

Hal said...

Yeah, I thought of all your points before writing my post. It's hard to be snarky and still take those things into account.

Still, there is a lot of complaint about "underfunded schools." If a district is having trouble affording teachers' salaries, new books, etc., then I think the worry of "polluting school buses" is perhaps a bit excessive.

b barker said...

Especially when we get complaints (rightly-so) about teachers being underpaid, but evidentally we have enough funds to COMPELETELY REVOLUTIONIZE THE WAY PUBLIC TRANSPORTATION WORKS. wtf?
The problem with increasing tax dollars to pay for it, is that tax dollars rarely ever go where they're supposed to. How many times has the government hiked the gas tax to help pay for alternative fuels? And yet, we have nothing to show for it. As a matter of fact, Fed/State government gets MORE MONEY FROM EVERY GALLON OF GAS THAN EXXON-MOBIL DOES, and we have nothing to show for it. Why do we think another tax hike will finally do it?
It reminds me of gun laws. At first we had laws about not killing. Nope... still killing. So we pass gun laws banning certain types of weapons. Nope, still killing. So we pass more gun control laws. Nope, still killing. We continue to pass more gun control laws. No change. At some point, we'll have to realize that something ELSE has to be done, besides passing a 207th way of telling people not to murder. If they disobey the first 206 ways, what is the 207th going to do?

The only way we'll get actual enviro-friendly fuels is if we, as citizens, demand it from our favored fuel distributors and fight for it. The Government isn't going to do squat about it until it's too late anyway.

Hal said...

Barry - What's amusing about the "do not kill" laws is that as ridiculous as you think we have it, it's even worse over seas.

Take Britain for example. Whereas we have the gun control laws, they have gone one step further with "knife control" laws.

Now, how this works out for kitchen utensils I'm not sure, but there you go.