The Caldwell Environmental Commission, in partnership with the Caldwell Public Library and the Caldwell Board of Health, ran a contest last month to promote clean air and clean water in the community.
Student submissions included essays, posters and more encourgaing drivers not to idle their cars as a way to help the environment, as well as improve public health.
Contest winners in various age categories were announced at a recent Caldwell Council meeting. The winners were as follows:
- K-2 Winner: George Janulis, Grade 1
- K-2 Honorable Mentions: Katrina Kondreck (kindergarten) & Natalya Kondreck (Grade 2)
- Grades 3-5 Winner: Nicolas Galup, Grade 5
- Grades 6-8 Winner: Varun Ravichandran, Grade 8
- College Winner: Melissa Fratella
- College Honorable Mention: Monique Pineros
Below is the winning submission by Melissa Fratella, a student at Caldwell College:
Reasons to Stop Idling!
- Make the air healthier by cutting down on hazardous pollution in your town or community.
- Help the environment. For every 10 minutes your engine is off, you'll prevent one pound of carbon dioxide from being released (carbon dioxide is the primary contributor to global warming).
- Keep money in your wallet and save fuel. Save between 1/5 to 7/10 of a gallon of fuel for every hour of not idling.
What harm does idling do? Idling pollutes the air and harms health. Idling tailpipes spew out the same pollutants that form unhealthy smog and soot as those from moving cars. Nitrogen oxide, particulate matter, carbon monoxide and volatile organic compounds are the main health-harming pollutants in vehicle emissions. Diesel engines emit more than 40 hazardous air pollutants.
These pollutants have been linked to serious human illnesses, including:
- heart disease,
- chronic bronchitis and
Children, the elderly and those with asthma and other chronic health problems are especially vulnerable to the health dangers of exhaust.
Pollution from idling contributes to global warming. Idling cars and trucks emit carbon dioxide (CO2), a main heat-trapping gas. In New York City alone, idling cars and trucks each year produce 130,000 tons of carbon dioxide. To offset this amount of global warming pollution, we would need to plant an area the size of Manhattan with trees every single year.