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Darleene Barrientos After spending some time studying...

October 01, 2004

Darleene Barrientos

After spending some time studying the air quality around Horace Mann

Elementary School, Jerome Rizalado, 10, hopes that the adults around

him will develop the same convictions he has about pollution.

After learning about deforestation and the shrinking of animal

habitats, Jerome has adopted a new philosophy.

"Now I pick up trash. Before, when I was in a hurry, I sometimes

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threw it on the floor, but now I pick it up," Jerome declared

Thursday. "I want to conserve. I want to be a good man -- or, a good

boy."

Jerome was one of dozens of Mann Elementary School fourth- and

fifth-grade students present when Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich,

along with representatives from the U.S. Environmental Protection

Agency and the South Coast Air Quality Management District, announced

the launch of a new project aimed at reducing pollution along the

Golden State (5) Freeway emitted by idling big-rig trucks.

The project is an "innovative" idea aimed at reducing diesel

emissions by installing plug-in stations along the highway so truck

drivers can turn off their engines and still keep the air

conditioning running while they rest, Antonovich said. The plug-in

stations provide electric power to the trucks so the air conditioning

units can function while the truck engine is off.

"More than 45,000 children in Glendale are affected by pollution,"

he said.

Lynda Burlison, Glendale's district head nurse, was also on hand

to give more specific details on how the city's children are affected

by the air quality.

"Over 12% of our students have chronic health conditions. Half of

those children have asthma or allergies. That's 3,000 students,"

Burlison said. "There is nothing more humbling than watching a young

person struggle to breathe. It's critical that more programs like

this receive more funding."

To begin the project, the AQMD was awarded $100,000 by the EPA, a

check that was presented Thursday. The AQMD will match the grant,

which will pay for 20 spaces for the plug-in power devices in Los

Angeles County.

In the county, about 750 tons of nitrogen oxides and 11 tons of

particulate matter pollutes the air annually as trucks idle along

freeways, according to EPA reports. The project is expected to reduce

pollution by 105 tons of nitrogen oxides and 2.7 tons of particulate

matter during a 10-year period, reports said.

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