Fort Wayne residents will be able to breathe a little easier thanks to new emissions filters being installed on older Fort Wayne Community School buses. The announcement was made Tuesday.
New school buses come equipped with systems that minimize pollution. The program Diesel Wise Indiana awarded Fort Wayne Community Schools over $300,000 in grant money to retrofit older buses with filters to reduce their pollution by around 90 percent.
Allen County Health Commissioner Deborah McMahon says asthma and other health issues can result from direct exposure to tiny particulate matter.
"You can’t see them," says McMahon, "but what they do is they get into the airways when they’re just standing by the bus, waiting for the bus to get on the bus, and what that does is trigger bronchospasm for kids.”
McMahon says about 13 percent of students in the district have been diagnosed with asthma – higher than the national average. But she says the number of students afflicted with breathing problems is likely higher.
The grant also allowed the district to purchase the cleaning system needed to maintain the filters, helping them last longer.