Upstate, SC – Taylors Elementary and A.J. Whittenberg School of Engineering have become the first Greenville County Schools to receive a Clean Air Upstate Grant in recognition of their participation in the Department of Health & Environmental Control (DHEC) Breathe Better Anti-Idling Program.

    The Upstate Air Quality Advisory Committee, which is coordinated by Ten at the Top and consists of stakeholder representatives from both the public and private sectors, has developed the “Clean Air Upstate” initiative to help ensure that the Upstate region is continuing to focus on reducing ozone and other air pollutants in order to remain within EPA attainment levels.

    The Upstate region is currently within compliance, but very close to the levels for non-attainment. If the region were to be ruled out of attainment, the additional regulations that industries looking to move to or expand in the Upstate would be significant and likely hamper the economic growth in the region. It would also limit the way communities within the region can use federal transportation funds. Turning off car engines when waiting in vehicles can result in a significant reduction in air pollutants as well as a savings in gasoline usage.
    Through a grant from the Hollingsworth Funds, Clean Air Upstate is providing individual schools in Greenville County that are participating in the Breathe Better anti-idling program with a one-time $400 grant. The Breathe Better program encourages school buses and parents to turn off their engines while waiting for students on school premises. It also includes an educational component for students on the importance of clean air and how we can all make a difference.

    Taylors Elementary and A.J. Whittenberg School of Engineering have both been participating in the program over the last two years and are the first schools to receive the grants. Any other school in Greenville County that is currently participating in the Breathe Better program is eligible to receive the grant this school year. Schools can also start the program and receive the grant later this fall. The Clean Air Upstate Grant program will be enlarged for the 2013-2014 school year to include schools from across the entire 10-county Upstate region.

    Clean Air Upstate is also developing an anti-idling program that encourages no-idling zones in shopping centers, malls and other parking areas across the Upstate.

    If your school, business or community is interested in learning more about the Clean Air Upstate program, please contact Alissa Ritzo Duncan at 864-283-2313 or or check out the website