We’re happy to report that InvestigateWest’s work alongside KING 5 on our just-released “Exhausted At School” project has prompted action by Seattle School District officials to protect students from the toxic air pollution emanating from traffic along big roads.
District spokesperson Tom Redman said the district just launched a new policy in response to inquiries from InvestigateWest and KING 5 concerning air quality. Principals in the coming year will be sent a daily notice of the regional air quality to help them decide whether its necessary to keep kids inside for recess. In general, air quality reports can indicate high ozone counts, more common on hot days, or higher-than-normal levels of toxic soot from traffic and wood smoke, which hang in the air more on colder days.
The school we focused on in the top of our story, John Marshall Junior High, currently undergoing renovations, is also getting a new look from the Seattle School District. In an email, Redman told KING 5’s Chris Ingalls:
“We are looking at our options to install an upgrade to the air filtration system into Phase II of the John Marshall reopening project. We have time to incorporate this scope of work. We have asked our Engineer to work up construction estimates and a design modification proposal.”
Watch this space as InvestigateWest and KING 5 continue to follow the story.
What a great service you’ve done! Congratulations. I live next door to the TOPS school in Eastlake and think about the air quality issue all the time – both for the children and myself. I would urge the School District, the City and the Puget Sound Clean Air Agency to consider another policy change: there are several different planned and underway construction projects within one block of the school. Diesel construction equipment is running every school day. The City could adopt rules to require that construction projects located within 500 feet of a school use biodiesel and adopt no-idling policies.
The perhaps bigger quandry for city planners is housing that is adjacent to big roads. Multi-family buildings tend to get built next to big roads for the same reasons that schools do – the land is cheaper. Think about the decline in property values if there is a broad understanding of how unhealthy that housing can be, especially for children.