CFUW Stratford on a mission to stop unnecessary idling in the city

A subcommittee of the Canadian Federation of University Women (CFUW) Stratford focusing on climate change has just launched an anti-idling campaign to educate the community on the effects of idling in a vehicle for more than one minute.

This campaign is in accordance with Stratford’s idling-control bylaw, which prohibits vehicles from idling for more than one minute in the City of Stratford.

The committee is raising awareness among parents and the public about the harmful effects of idling exhaust on children's health by providing educational materials to school boards, schools and teachers, with the hope the information will then be passed down to the children.

“What we're hoping for is that the children themselves will be able to educate their parents,” said Marylu Moyer, a CFUW member and climate-change advocate. So, when a parent comes to pick up a child at the school, that child might remind the parent not to idle their car while waiting.”

“When cars idle, they are emitting carbon dioxide, the main greenhouse gas responsible for climate change,” said CFUW member and environmental activist Sheila Clark in a press release issued by CFUW Stratford. “Car idling is especially hazardous to our children and to vulnerable adults.”

She also noted that children are particularly vulnerable because of their shorter statures, which makes them closer to the exhaust emitted by the vehicles.

According to the Nemours Child Health Foundation, unnecessary idling can contribute to childhood asthma, lung irritation and inflammation. Two common tailpipe emissions are hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxides. These interact to form ground-level ozone, which acts as a bronchoconstrictor and can trigger asthma attacks.

The anti-idling packages prepared by CFUW Stratford have been delivered to all Stratford school principals digitally and in hard copy. They include idling information, selected text from the bylaw and an idling quiz.

This is just the beginning of the project, and the committee hopes to increase the number of anti-idling signage throughout the city while providing educational material to more schools across the county in the coming years.

CFUW wants to remind the public that idling in Stratford is against the law. Residents and visitors must turn off all vehicle engines when parked. This not only helps cut down on greenhouse-gas emissions, it also saves money.

Amanda Modaragamage, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Stratford Times