No-idling program looks to clean air

LAWRENCEVILLE - Concerned for little lungs, Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful is requesting parents turn off their cars at 10 local schools.

The anti-idling campaign hopes to convince parents that air quality is more important than air conditioning as they try to reduce the rate of vehicles idling at the schools from 60 percent to 30 percent by the end of the school year.

The pilot program will then be rolled into other county schools, the organization's director, Connie Wiggins, said.

"We need to have a place to begin," she said. "We want to heighten awareness."

Already, she said, schools have signs that say "No Idling Zone, Little Lungs at Work." The anti-idling message will be built into curriculums and people will be rewarded for turning off their cars.

Often, Wiggins said, parents get to their children's schools 20 or 30 minutes early and sit with their engines on. She said most parents probably don't think about the negative impact the practice has on air quality.

"I think people just forget," she said. "They don't think about certain things."

Wiggins said she hopes parents and children will talk about turning off their cars and will become more knowledgeable about how easy it can be to help the environment.

Monitors will also hand out printed material and talk to parents in line about the effort.

"Gwinnett Clean and Beautiful has always been about what individuals can do to change our community," she said.

The schools involved in the pilot program are:

' Arcado Elementary

' Duncan Creek Elementary

' Dyer Elementary

' Fort Daniel Elementary

' Jackson Elementary

' Kanoheda Elementary

' McKendree Elementary

' Sugar Hill Elementary

' Sycamore Elementary

' Taylor Elementary