The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has awarded more than $9.3 million (£7.1m) to replace 473 old and polluting diesel school buses.
The new funding will be spread across 145 school bus fleets in 43 states or territories and is sourced through the governmentbody’s Diesel Emissions Reduction Act (DERA).
The new buses will cut airborne pollutants such as nitrogen dioxide and particulate matter by up to 90% – the EPA hopes in doing so, it will help to avoid health problems linked to poor air quality, such as asthma and lung damage.
Applicants replacing buses made before 2006 will be able to receive rebates of up to $20,000 (£15,300), depending on the size of the bus.
The EPA says it is important to protect children from exposure to air pollution at schools, bus stops and on the buses themselves.
It suggests exhaust from diesel buses can cause particular harm to children, who have a faster breathing rate than adults and whose lungs are not yet fully developed.
EPA Administrator Andrew Wheeler said: “Children’s health is a top priority for EPA and these grants will help provide cleaner air and a healthier ride to and from school for America’s children.
“This DERA funding reflects our broader children’s health agenda and commitment to ensure all children can live, learn and play in healthy and clean environments.”