Diesel School Bus Becomes First to Receive Pollution Control Retrofit in Puerto Rico, Improving Air Quality for School Children
Santa Fe, NM – May 30, 2007 – Exhaust from diesel school buses can be dangerous to the health of children. Puerto Rico has decided it’s time to do something about it.
In May, the country unveiled its first school bus retrofitted with emissions control technology to reduce toxic diesel emissions and improve air quality for Puerto Rican school children.
According to an article published in the journal Population Research and Policy Review, “Puerto Rican children are more likely to have asthma than children in any other racial/ethnic group in the United States.” As noted in a study conducted by the Natural Resources Defense Council, the University of California at Berkeley School of Public Health, and the Coalition for Clean Air, riding a diesel school bus may increase the risk of cancer and aggravate respiratory problems in children. Recently E/The Environmental Magazine reported diesel emissions are classified by the EPA as a “likely carcinogen”, with dangers of breathing diesel exhaust ranging from respiratory illnesses like asthma and bronchitis to lung cancer and heart disease. In Puerto Rico, this health threat is especially true for children already impacted by asthma.
The retrofitted diesel school bus was presented during a ceremony in San Juan at the Polytechnic University on May 11th. Alan J. Steinberg, Regional Administrator of the EPA, discussed the benefits of providing air pollution control equipment for aging vehicles. “Pollution from school buses has health implications for everyone, especially asthmatic children. By developing local capacity and promoting the Clean School Bus program in Puerto Rico, where more kids suffer from asthma than anywhere else in the U.S., we are progressively reducing diesel pollution to make that familiar black puff of smoke a relic of the past.”
Air pollution control products and services to retrofit the bus were provided by emissions control manufacturer, CleanAIR Systems, Inc., working in conjunction with emissions reduction consultant, Emisstar. The retrofitted bus is the start of a national initiative aimed at cleaning up school buses throughout the country as a joint effort between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and the Puerto Rico Clean School Bus USA Workgroup.
Launched in 2003 by the EPA, Clean School Bus USA is a voluntary partnership with the goal of reducing children’s exposure to diesel exhaust through the reduction of unnecessary bus idling, providing funding to retrofit buses with emissions control technology, and replacing older buses with less-polluting models. The majority of Puerto Rican school buses were built prior to 2004. They generate a significant amount of pollutants such as fine particulate matter and can release up to six times more pollution than buses built after 2004. CleanAIR Systems provided the program with an ASSURE DOC (diesel oxidation converter) which will cut school bus emissions of particulate matter by at least 20%, hydrocarbons by 50% and carbon monoxide by at least 60%. The CleanAIR ASSURE DOC can be used with either diesel or biodiesel fuels.
“We’re glad we were able to make a difference in Puerto Rico when it came to cleaning up their school buses,” said Ralph Wintersberger, CleanAIR Sales Engineer. “Emisstar brought this to our attention and jointly our two companies worked with the EPA to get this program off the ground.”
“Emisstar is pleased to lend our expertise to this exciting and important first step in improving the health and well-being of school children in Puerto Rico,” added Glenn Goldstein, Emisstar Principal.
Puerto Rico has also joined the Northeast Diesel Collaborative, allowing it to compete for future EPA grant money in order to purchase air pollution control equipment to retrofit the rest of their bus fleet.
About CleanAIR Systems:
CleanAIR Systems is a technology-based corporation manufacturing emissions control systems with worldwide distribution. Their products are designed to control air pollution such as diesel particulate matter and NOx, for on- and off-road vehicles, as well as stationary machinery and power generation. Visit CleanAIR Systems online at www.cleanairsys.com.
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