Today, as part of a weeklong series of events to highlight EPA’s 40 years of protecting American communities, EPA Administrator Jackson visited the Coretta Scott King Young Women’s Academy in Atlanta to highlight the Agency’s commitment to children’s health.
Administrator Jackson was joined by City of Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed along with a number of partnering organizations, including the Georgia Department of Natural Resources, City of Atlanta, Mothers and Others for Clean Air, the Captain Planet Foundation and the Georgia Clean Air Campaign, in this event to help promote awareness to people of all ages about environmental issues that adversely impact children’s health.
'For 40 years we've worked to create a healthier, stronger nation for our children,' EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson said. 'It's encouraging to see that clean water and air haven't made our youth complacent. They understand a clean environment is essential to our health and they want to be engaged in protecting our environment. We must give them the tools to do so and harness their energy as we think about the next 40 years beyond.'
'The City of Atlanta is dedicated to improving the health and wellness of all our citizens and especially our youth. As we celebrate the achievements of the EPA on its 40th anniversary, I couldn't be more pleased that the work being done at the national level at EPA is affecting positive change for our youth that will continue for generations to come,' said Mayor Kasim Reed.
EPA and the Academy also signed a Memorandum of Understanding, the first of its kind in the region. Through the MOU, EPA will work with its partners, local minority academic institutions, and community-based organizations to provide guest lecturers and project demonstrations and assist the school with their science and math program though volunteer tutors, student mentors, and professional development sessions
'EPA recognizes that we play an important role in educating the future caretakers of the environment,” said EPA Regional Administrator Gwen Keyes Fleming. “By working with our partners, we can give the proper tools and information to children to improve their health and environmental awareness.”
Other event highlights included: a flag raising ceremony for the Air Quality Index (AQI) flag program; a ribbon cutting ceremony for the new community garden and composting center and the initiation of a waste minimization and recycling program. Students attended an assembly and enjoyed a number of environmentally focused activities throughout the day.
The CSKYWLA, a public single gender middle school in the city of Atlanta, is the first school in Georgia to institute a flag program based on EPA’s AQI. This program, which was introduced to the school by Mothers and Others for Clean Air, informs students about air quality and notifies teachers, coaches, students and the community about outdoor air quality. The school will be provided with opportunities to incorporate voluntary programs developed by EPA and others to help maintain a healthy, safe and green environment.
Protecting children's health from environmental risks is important because their bodies are still developing. They eat more, drink more, and breathe more in proportion to their body size. Children's behavior can also expose them more to chemicals and organisms. With a new office and director, EPA is committed to protecting all children from environmental health threats by fully considering risks to children and addressing those risks, where appropriate, in national health-based environmental standards.