Mayo County Council, together with Green-Schools Ireland, is launching an Anti-Idling Campaign for motorists dropping-off and picking-up outside schools.
Schools across Mayo are being invited to sign up to the campaign and those that do will receive digital information packs to send out to parents and pupils giving them the opportunity to find out more about air pollution and ways to reduce it.
Idling creates worse emissions than driving, including higher levels of carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, nitrous oxide and hydrocarbons, with most instances coming from ‘avoidable’ road situations such as waiting to pick someone up outside a workplace or school.
The latter situation is of particular alarm as children breathe in up to three times more air relative to their weight, meaning they take in a greater volume of toxic air which can stunt lung growth and increase their risk of respiratory disease.
Lukasz Krzywon, Green-Schools Travel Officer for Co. Mayo said: “These pollutants contribute to global warming and worsen air quality. Think about it like this, if you’ve ever smelled the awful fumes coming out of the exhaust pipe as an adult, try to imagine you are a small child, half of your size or smaller, walking right next to it. Switching off the engine is the one simple action you can take for those around you and our planet.”
“Mayo County Council are delighted to be working with Green-schools on this campaign. 10 seconds of idling uses more fuel and produces more emissions than restarting the engine. The most recent IPCC report again reminded us that we must cut our greenhouse gas emissions to prevent runaway climate change. Switching off our engines while stationery is one simple and effective way of reducing our emissions while also making the air around us cleaner” commented Laura Dixon, Climate Action Officer, Mayo County Council.
All Mayo schools will receive a Green-Schools No Idling Toolkit which provides teachers, pupils and parents with information on how to run a campaign and deals with many myths around engine idling as well as additional information on safe parking around the school gate from Mayo County Council’s Road Safety Officer, Noel Gibbons.
The first Mayo school to sign up to the No-Idling campaign is St. Joseph's Primary School, Ballinrobe.
Principal, Dymphna Culhane said: “This is a great initiative and we hope everyone takes notice of what is being said. Leaving an engine running while waiting in the car is an unnecessary source of air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions. Combatting this outside schools is especially important because there are potentially a high number of idling vehicle engines here at drop-off and pick-up times.”
For more information on the Green-Schools No Idling Toolkit see