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Willard School District Begins Using Environmentally Friendly School Buses

School Bus

Some students in the Willard School District will be riding to school in new environmentally friendly buses. KSMU’s Justin Lux was at Willard Middle School with the story.

The Ozarks Center for Sustainable Solutions and the Willard School District have begun work on a project that would not only reduce diesel emissions from school buses, but improve air quality in Southwest Missouri overall.

As part of the federal Diesel Emission Reduction Act, the Missouri Department of Conservation received approximately $2.7 million in stimulus funds. Part of that money went to the Ozarks Center for Sustainable Solutions, which then administered the funds to pay for the two new school buses in Willard.

According to the Department of Natural Resources, Willard is the first school district in Southwest Missouri to receive two new environmentally friendly school buses under the grant initiative. The buses emit up to 90 percent fewer pollutants than the other buses used by the school district making for a much safer environment for the children. District superintendent, Dr. Kent Medlin, says that is the most important thing.

"The most precious natural resource that exists today is not oil or coal or even gold. It's clean air, clean water and ultimately these children that exist are the greatest natural resource that all of us share," says Medlin.

Reducing emissions from school buses is a major concern for the school district. Children are more susceptible to the health effects of diesel emission because their respiratory systems are still developing.

For KSMU news, I’m Justin Lux.