By Nelson Roberts, DHEC Air Quality Program Manager
Congratulations to D. W. Daniel High School’s environmental science class on receiving the 2016 Spare the Air Outstanding School Award! The school was recognized by S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control during Air Quality Awareness Week 2016 for its leadership and initiatives to protect the air and environment.
Students enrolled in D.W. Daniel High’s advanced placement environmental science class led an event named “Inflation Station” in March 2015. The program aimed to increase student awareness of the environmental benefits of proper car maintenance and provide a service to the Pickens County community.
The goal of the inflation station was two-fold. One, students were made aware of the benefits of proper tire inflation and how mileage improvements directly help the environment. Specifically, increased miles per gallon reduce direct source car emissions because less fuel is consumed in daily commutes. Reductions in nitrogen oxides, greenhouse gases, respiratory irritants, ground level ozone precursors, and particulates were all realized with simple attention to tire pressure. In addition, drivers were taught how easy checking tire inflation truly can be.
In addition to the Inflation Station, students participated in data collection for the school’s participation in the Breathe Better program. Students monitored idling cars and buses after school, and information highlighting the positive aspects of a no-idle policy was given to the vehicle drivers. “No idling zone” signs were also displayed to improve air quality as students waited for pickup.
Student-leaders took on all aspects of the project including: proposing and planning the project, meeting with Principal Josh Young to ask for permission, providing all the promotional information for the community, gathering all the inflation supplies (compressors, gauges, portable generators), organizing the traffic lanes and supplying the labor for tire inflation.
Prior to the event, students created announcements highlighting the importance of proper tire inflation and promoted the day and time of the event via Website and daily announcements. Students were directed to the station on their way out of the parking lot where the environmental science students checked the tire pressure and then inflated the tires to the manufacturer’s prescribed pressure as needed.
The school hopes the Inflation Station will continue yearly as a public service for the D.W. Daniel High community. Promoting a large scale event gives students a real-world example of planning, approval protocols at a school, communication skills, teamwork and delegation of duties. Students then have the confidence to try new ideas and serve others in the community.
Congratulations, D. W. Daniel High School, and thank you for all you do to improve air quality in South Carolina!