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National Walk to School Day Gets Kids Off the Bus, Reduces Pollution
Thousands of children across the U.S. will shun the yellow bus and walk or bicycle to school on Oct. 9 as part of National Walk to School Day.
Organizers of the one-day event, now in its 16th year, say walking or bicycling to school results in a number of positive consequences, including reduced traffic—and less air pollutants emitted by vehicles.
And it's not just by school buses. Personal vehicles taking students to school account for 10 percent to 14 percent of all personal vehicle trips made during the morning peak commute times, according to a 2011 report from the National Center for Safe Routes to School (based on National Household Travel Survey Data, 2009). Those vehicles emit a variety of air pollutants, resulting in increases in ground-level ozone, nitrogen oxides and particulate matter such as particles of dust, soot, smoke, dirt and liquid droplets, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Organizers say other benefits of walking to school include increased physical activity, a stronger sense of community, safer streets and lower costs for school districts—one school district calculated $237,000 in annual savings.
The event was founded in 1997 by the Partnership for a Walkable America as a way to build awareness of the need for walkable communities. The event became international in 2000 when the U.K. and Canada joined; today more than 40 countries participate. In 2012, bicycling to school became part of the event.
Participation in Walk to School Day 2012 reached a record high, with more than 4,200 events registered from all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. Many more communities held events but did not register.
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The world awakened to the hole in the ozone layer in 1985, which scientists attributed it to ozone depleting substances. Two years later, in Montreal, the world agreed to ban the halogen compounds causing the massive hole over Antarctica. Research now shows that those chemicals didn't just cut a hole in the ozone layer, they also warmed up the Arctic.
Formosa Plant May Still Be Releasing Plastic Pollution in Texas After $50M Settlement, Activists Find
On the afternoon of Jan. 15, activist Diane Wilson kicked off a San Antonio Estuary Waterkeeper meeting on the side of the road across from a Formosa plastics manufacturing plant in Point Comfort, Texas.
After Wilson and the waterkeeper successfully sued Formosa, the company agreed to no longer release even one of the tiny plastic pellets known as nurdles into the region's waterways. The group of volunteers had assembled that day to check whether the plant was still discharging these raw materials of plastics manufacturing.
Malaysia Sends Plastic Waste Back to 13 Wealthy Countries, Says It Won’t Be 'the Rubbish Dump of the World'
The Southeast Asian country Malaysia has sent 150 shipping containers packed with plastic waste back to 13 wealthy countries, putting the world on notice that it will not be the world's garbage dump, as CNN reported. The countries receiving their trash back include the United States, the United Kingdom, France and Canada.