This year, during Latinx Heritage Month, join us in calling on school districts to address historic environmental injustices by investing in electric school buses.
Guest blog | October 12, 2022
| Clean transportation, Electric vehicles
Latinx Heritage Month began September 15 and ends October 15. This guest blog was written by Carolina Chacon, the lead of the Alliance for Electric School Buses coalition of which the Southern Alliance for Clean Energy is a proud member. This year, join us in calling on school districts to address historic environmental injustices by investing in electric school buses.
Our children deserve a clean ride to school. Every school day, 20 million American children travel in nearly 500,000 school buses, 95% that run on diesel. Diesel exhaust – which can reach children on buses, idling or driving – produces toxins of up to 12 times more polluting than what children would encounter driving to school in an ordinary car. Children, whose lungs and brains are still developing, are particularly vulnerable to this pollution. The diesel exhaust is a known carcinogen which can shorten lifespan and lead to heart and lung disease and is particularly linked to asthma, which before the pandemic was the leading cause of school absenteeism. Additionally, diesel pollution has been linked to lower test scores and poorer academic performance.
For Latinx children, traveling in diesel school buses is especially harmful. Latinx children, regardless of family income, are more likely to have asthma than their white peers. One in 12 Latinx children currently suffers from asthma, and exposure to diesel pollution may aggravate asthma attacks. This can have fatal consequences, as Latinx children are 40% more likely to die from asthma. Latinx families are also less likely to have access to affordable, quality health care, which can delay children getting the medicines they need to treat their respiratory illness. This is in addition to the fact that Latinx children are already more likely to live in areas with unhealthy air and greater exposure to particulate pollution diesel buses and trucks.
Fortunately, we have a solution. By switching to electric school buses, children can breathe cleaner air and lead healthier lives. Electric school buses produce NO tailpipe emissions and are quieter and more fun to drive, with no harmful fumes or odors. They can also save school districts money on maintenance and operations, money that can be reinvested in school budgets. Deploying electric school buses to communities of color breathing the dirtiest air will help address historic environmental injustices that cause Latinx children to breathe dirtier air.
Traveling to school in diesel school buses, Latinx children are more likely to be exposed to harmful tailpipe pollution that can worsen respiratory conditions like asthma and even impact grades. school. Latinx kids are already 40% more likely to die of asthma than their white peers. Latinx families are also 165% likely to live in areas with unhealthy air and near sources of pollution, and often lack access to affordable, quality health care. Diesel school buses compound these problems.
Our children deserve to breathe clean air. It’s time to transition America’s school bus fleet to zero-tailpipe-emission electric school buses – the cleanest, safest option for all of our children. This #LatinxHeritageMonth, join us in calling on school districts to provide a #CleanRide4Kids by investing in electric school buses.
*Please note that the US Federal Government uses the term “Hispanic”. We use “Latinx” because it is more inclusive of Latin Americans in the United States.
About the Electric School Bus Alliance
The mission of Alliance for Electric School Buses is to electrify the nation’s school bus fleet and prioritize the neediest school districts in the most polluted areas – which, as the data shows, are proportionally low-income communities and communities of color. – while creating well-paying careers in manufacturing and deployment.