The Municipal Governing Body of South Plainfield passed a resolution in April, in support of the existing State Law, to discourage parked motorists from idling for more than three minutes. The Borough's Sustainable Jersey Green Team took the lead to identify the areas where idling is most common. Those locations include drive-through windows, gas stations, strip malls, distribution centers and business, and school parking lots. The Green Team's strategy to reduce idling is through a public education campaign that engages the community-at-large. The team has searched to find allies and champions who will pledge to support and promote the anti-idling laws. One of the first to step up is the Board of Education.
The Green Team met with Board of Education member, Debbie Boyle, in July to discuss effective ways to inform parents and others who provide transportation for students of the significant pollution hazards of idling. The fruitful results of that meeting will be evident in the coming weeks.
For starters, Ms. Boyle addressed the seventh graders at the Middle School orientation in August, asking the student body to step up and help the PTO's anti-idling campaign. Shortly thereafter the Interim Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Frank Cocchiola, signed an anti-idling pledge for the Jackson Avenue Administration Building, as did all the principals at their school locations. Anti-idling proclamations are now visible at school building entrances and on the Board of Education website. Representatives of the High School National Honor Society and all the other parent/teacher organizations are being asked to consider taking on the anti-idling campaign at their schools.
The greatest concern from idling is pollution. For every gallon of gasoline a car uses, it emits about 20 pounds of carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas that contributes to climate change. Idling vehicles also emit other chemicals that can trigger asthma attacks. Studies have linked many of chemicals to increased risk of cancer, heart and lung disease, asthma and allergies. By reducing emissions, drivers can lessen damage to the environment and population.