Along major roadways that connect the sprawling limits of San Diego County, 39 schools lie within 500 feet of smog-filled traffic corridors, a distance that air-pollution researchers believe significantly increases the risk of pediatric asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Below I-5, where cars, trucks and buses queue on their way north to the Gaslamp District, there’s a Catholic school. Off I-15 in City Heights, a health-sciences charter high. Next to I-8 in Mission Valley, a center for kids with autism and learning disabilities.
But a California law that claims to “protect school children from the health risks posed by pollution from heavy freeway traffic” does not apply to the 39 schools in San Diego County that lie close to major roads, including two private schools located in communities that are among those most burdened by pollution in the state.
The law itself has been limited by weak environmental regulations that put the enforcement burden on the backs of private citizens.