When trucks and buses leave their engines running unnecessarily, they are not only wasting fuel (millions of gallons annually) but releasing harmful particles and greenhouse gasses into the air. Diesel particulate pollution has been linked to asthma, heart disease, cancer, and premature death. These negative health effects of diesel emissions are well documented. For example, according to United States Environmental Protection Agency data, exhaust from diesel engines accounts for 78% of the total added cancer risk in outdoor air from all hazardous air pollutants combined in the United States.
Citizen engagement is a crucial component of an anti-idling campaign. In Philadelphia, The Council's IdleFreePhilly.org gives local communities the power to quickly and easily report illegal idling to city officials, and allows neighbors to work together to identify locations where idling is a recurring problem. IdleFreePhilly.org is a web-based tool using the free software SeeClickFix, a powerful community mapping platform that allows residents to report problems in their neighborhoods to city officials. Clean Air Council uses IdleFreePhilly to target action at idling hotspots throughout the city. The Council reports infractions to Air Management Services, the police, and Philadelphia Parking Authority. The Council also takes direct approaches by contacting local business owners and inviting them to hang “no idling” signs and other preventative practices to reduce idling at their location, or by their vehicles.