BROWNSVILLE — A big grant is helping to make Brownsville ISD buses better for the environment and to improve breathing conditions for students on board. News Center 23's Na'Tassia Finley has more on the eco-friendly upgrade
About 27-thousand students ride BISD buses every single day.
With over about 250 buses, about half of which are older models, lots of exhaust is emitted throughout the air, around the bus and even in to the bus itself.
The Texas Commission on Environmental Quality, also known as TCEQ, has given $1.7million dollars to BISD to purchase special eco-friendly filters for the buses.
"When you burn fuel in a diesel engine, such as a school bus, you’re going to create particles, very small particles that can be solid or liquid and they become entrained or suspended in the air, and when you breathe those in, if they’re small enough, they can deposit in your lungs and actually get into your blood stream depending on what they’re made of and they can cause health effects if you have sufficient concentration for a sufficient time,” says TEQC Commissioner Bryan Shaw.
These diesel particulate filters reduce particulate matter from the buses by 85-90 percent.
"What this filter does is remove those particles, that particulate matter before it leaves the exhaust of the buses," says Shaw.
Nearly $3-million dollars has been divvied out by the Texas Clean School Program to Valley School Districts in an effort to get cleaner school buses on the roads. BISD received the largest check. They applied for the grant and have agreed to keep the technology in place for at least five years.
The TEQC and BISD officials say retrofitting the older buses is a great way to keep pollution emissions down without having to shell out big bucks on the purchase of an entire new fleet of buses.
The 129 filters will be put on about half of the fleet of BISD schools buses by August.