Stupid and Barbaric: Building a “Green” School in Traffic


Bill Davenhall, “Busy Roads, Air Pollution and Environmental Health Risks,” Huffington Post, July 24:

“A number of important studies over the last several years have linked children’s respiratory health problems with high densities of vehicular roadway traffic…. If the research carried out in California is relevant to other states and communities (and it probably is), the discovery that childcare facilities within 600 feet (two football fields in length) of a major highway (defined as having more than 50,000 vehicles per day) have more sick kids should be a wake-up call for every community. The research also suggests that about 7 percent of all the California daycare facilities and 5 percent of the schools that children under 12 attend are ‘too close’ to a busy highway. …taking better care of a child’s lungs is a far better investment than spending money on treating the lifelong damage that bad air will contribute. The window of opportunity is very small — their first 12 years of life!”

Kate Ravilious,”Urban planning could cut air-pollution woes,” ERL, July 22:

“Living next to a busy road could knock years off your life. This is the unpalatable conclusion reached by Michael Brauer of the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, Canada, who assesses the links between traffic pollution and people’s health. …children living near busy highways were 13% more likely to develop asthma, 6% more likely to develop bronchiolitis and around 8% more likely to experience middle-ear infections. And it isn’t just babies and children who are at risk. Brauer and colleagues have also found a strong link between traffic pollution and death from cardiovascular disease. ‘We show that people who move away from high-traffic roads reduce their risk of cardiovascular-disease death compared with people who do not,’ Brauer told environmentalresearchweb. Specifically their study revealed that people who move from within 50 m of a major highway reduce their risk by 45%.”

Denis Campbell,”Traffic fumes increase the risks of child pneumonia,” The Guardian, January 24:

“Children who live near a main road are in greater danger of catching pneumonia because pollution from passing traffic damages their lungs. A leading expert in childhood breathing difficulties has made the link between exposure to particles from vehicle exhausts and a child’s susceptibility to the chest infection, which can be fatal. Professor Jonathan Grigg, an honorary consultant at the Royal London Hospital and academic paediatrician at Queen Mary, University of London, made the breakthrough after studying the effect of airborne pollutants on human lung cells. Children whose home is within 100 metres of a main road could be as much as 65% more likely than others to develop pneumonia, he said.”

Would anyone from Monongalia County Schools (or the state, the county, the city, or the federal government) care to explain how siting an elementary school at the intersection of two roads that pass tens of thousands of vehicles per day, trucks included, and that is to soon be expanded to handle additional traffic, including even more traffic from a newly completed Mon-Fayette Expressway and Morgantown’s forthcoming airport business park, is not worthy of injunction seeking lawsuits?

Would it kill Mon County Schools to do a thorough environmental assessment of the site? No, and it might kill the kids not to. See the horror stories at Child Proofing.

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