Mississippi gets national attention for cleaning the air - WLOX.com - The News for South Mississippi

Mississippi gets national attention for cleaning the air

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More than 800 third graders attended the Children's Environmental Fair at the Biloxi Civic Center and Library Wednesday. They learned about the cars of the future, alternative forms of energy, and other modes of transportation. More than 800 third graders attended the Children's Environmental Fair at the Biloxi Civic Center and Library Wednesday. They learned about the cars of the future, alternative forms of energy, and other modes of transportation.
BILOXI, MS (WLOX) -

Mississippi's efforts to clean up the air have caught the attention of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. On Wednesday, the regional administrator of the EPA visited Biloxi to thank all the schools, city leaders, and agencies for helping to cut down on dangerous emissions.

She also came to announce the national launch of a "magical" book that's aimed at cleaning up the air.  

Dozens of third graders listened intently as a woman read a book to them.  They were among the first to listen to a Spanish version of the popular children's book "The Magic School Bus Gets Cleaned Up."  

The book explains how school buses can pollute the air and harm your health.  EPA Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming helped launch the book at the first Children's Environmental Fair at the Biloxi Civic Center and Library.

"Mississippi should be commended for the advances that they've made, particularly with making sure that air is clean for children to go to and from school," said Keyes Fleming.

Keyes Fleming praised Mississippi's campaign to retrofit or replace its fleet of school buses to reduce tailpipe emissions.  And she recognized schools that promote "no idle" policies for buses and cars.

"There used to be a lot of pollution that goes into the air, causing problems, particularly children with asthma or other debilitating diseases. So now the areas around schools and the communities are much cleaner largely due to the work of folks here in the state," said Keyes Fleming.

More than 800 third graders attended the two-day fair. They learned how to design cars of the future and alternative forms of energy. They were also introduced to other modes of transportation, like taking the trolley or riding their bikes.  More importantly, they learned that children can encourage adults to change.

"The car's still on and they're just waiting. They're just sitting there," said Reeves Elementary third grader Madelyn Lynch. "You might want to tell them to turn off their engine."

The fair was coordinated by the Gulf Regional Planning Commission.

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