Spotlight On: The Village of Godfrey

Even though summer is winding down, the St. Louis metropolitan area continues to experience sizzling summer temperatures, meaning the importance of keeping the region’s air clean remains high. Thanks to various local organizations and municipalities that have worked hard to better the environment and create a sustainable way of life, the Clean Air Partnership is pleased to recognize the Village of Godfrey for prioritizing environmentally conscious purchases and practices that help to enhance the community and benefit the region’s air quality.

Founded in 1991, the Village of Godfrey is one of Illinois’ newest municipalities and has been rapidly developing in recent years. Utilizing the flourishing area in ways that focus on sustainability is a top priority for both the leaders and residents of Godfrey. In 2020, the Village of Godfrey earned the esteemed Award of Achievement for their work in the St. Louis Green Cities Challenge, a program of the Missouri Botanical Garden. As a returning Challenge participant, Godfrey and eight other local Green Cities worked with a menu of fundamental sustainability policy and action options geared toward greening municipal business operations, including various resources to educate and engage residents.

Among their eco-friendly innovations to receive recognition in the Challenge was the recent move toward more responsible management of the village’s waste and emissions. In partnership with Madison County, the Village of Godfrey planned and executed an E-cycle event that granted residents the opportunity to recycle their electronic products no longer in use. When these electronics are not recycled, they release harmful chemicals into the environment that, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), account for approximately 70% of all toxic waste and represent 2% of the nation’s trash in landfills. Furthermore, Village Hall significantly reduced its paper waste by utilizing the electronic meeting management software “Board Docs” for paperless notes.

Transitioning to the use of renewable energy wherever possible is another way the community vows to reduce their overall environmental footprint. As a municipal sponsor of the Grow Solar Metro East program, the Village of Godfrey’s Climate Protection and Energy Efficiency Committee provides financial assistance in order to ensure significant discounts that make installing solar simple and more affordable for local property owners. During the 2020 Challenge, new solar panels were installed at Glazebrook Park, in addition to a solar ordinance being passed in the village to serve as a guide for the local government to support and encourage the development of solar energy systems. To further conserve energy, the village also updated its stormwater ordinance to include green infrastructure solutions and implemented zone scheduling street department projects to save on fuel and cut down on harmful greenhouse gas emissions.

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the Village of Godfrey and how your municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Metro Transit Championing Cleaner Air in the St. Louis Region with New Electric Bus Fleet

The Clean Air Partnership is pleased to serve a community where several local organizations are playing a crucial role in helping to provide options for area residents to take action to reduce emissions and improve air quality in the region. One that’s really proving to be a champion for clean air is Metro Transit – the St. Louis metropolitan region’s primary public transportation system – which recently launched one of the largest initial electric bus fleet deployments in the nation.

With a shared commitment to enhance the sustainability of the bi-state St. Louis region, representatives from Bi-State Development, Metro Transit and several partners and regional stakeholders recently gathered for the official launch of the first 18 electric battery-powered buses into service on the MetroBus system, which covers an area of about 550 square miles. The deployment was made possible by the Federal Transit Administration (FTA) and Metro’s collaboration with the Center for Transportation and the Environment, Ameren Missouri, GILLIG, New Flyer and Metro’s key transit partners – the City of St. Louis and St. Louis County in Missouri and St. Clair County in Illinois. Another six new buses will join the MetroBus battery electric fleet by the end of this year to provide additional economically and environmentally sustainable mobility options, further enhancing the overall transit experience for Metro riders.

The (14) 60-foot battery electric buses manufactured by New Flyer America will operate exclusively on the #70 Grand route, which is Metro’s busiest route and carries about 10 percent of its passengers on a daily basis. The (4) 40-foot buses made by GILLIG will provide service on a variety of MetroBus routes in the City of St. Louis and in St. Louis County.

Not only do electric buses provide financial advantages by reducing fuel and maintenance costs, but they also deliver numerous environmental benefits to the communities they serve. Altogether, Metro Transit estimates the new electric buses will reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 100 to 160 tons per year. Eliminating diesel exhaust emissions, particle pollution and other harmful pollutants that contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and ultimately make it harder for individuals to breathe is an important investment for long-term lung health in the St. Louis region and a great step in the right direction for cleaner air!

The 60-foot battery electric buses will be charged while in service at the North Broadway-Taylor Transit Center in St. Louis, located at the northernmost end of the #70 Grand MetroBus route, and all buses will be charged every night at the Brentwood MetroBus facility in Brentwood. Ameren Missouri built a new substation next to the Brentwood MetroBus facility to serve the growing electric needs of Metro Transit and the surrounding communities. The $11.3 million investment upgrades the power supply to triple capacity and modernizes the energy system for the area.

For more information about Metro Transit’s journey to zero-emission mobility and its Electric Bus program, visit To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Particle Pollution and Your Health

While cities all across the nation have made significant strides in cleaning up harmful air pollution over the last several decades, many areas in the United States – including the St. Louis metropolitan region – produce high enough concentrations of particulate matter that it can trigger illness, hospitalization and even premature death. With each new edition of the American Lung Association’s annual “State of the Air” report, the threat of deadly particle pollution continues to worsen and is responsible for upwards of 48,000 premature deaths in the U.S. every year.

In the three years covered by the latest report (2017-2019), close to 54.4 million people live in the 88 counties that experienced unhealthy spikes in particulate matter air pollution, which represents a million more people than in last year’s “State of the Air” and higher numbers than in any of the last five reports. Likewise, more than 20.9 million people – approximately 6.4% of the nation – live in one of the 17 counties where year-round particle pollution levels are worse than the national air quality limit. Among those areas that received a failing grade is St. Louis, which ranked in a four-way tie for 20th most-polluted U.S. cities by year-round particle pollution.

Particle pollution – also known as particulate matter – refers to a mixture of tiny bits of solids and liquids in the air we breathe. This comes from countless sources such as factories, power plants, diesel and gasoline-powered motor vehicles, and equipment that either directly emit fine particles or generate the precursors such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) that can form into fine particles in the atmosphere. Though low average daily levels of fine particles can be deadly in some cases, decades of research have firmly established that long-term exposure to particulate matter was associated with elevated risks of death from cardiovascular and respiratory causes, including heart disease, stroke, influenza and pneumonia. Research has also linked year-round exposure to particle pollution to a wide array of serious health effects at every stage of life, from conception through old age.

The good news is, however; cleaning up particle pollution does make a difference, and studies have shown a consistent relationship between decreased particle pollution levels in communities and improved respiratory health in both children and adults. Fortunately, the St. Louis region offers plenty of resources to help with this effort to improve the quality of the air we breathe and protect lung health.

With a higher potential for poor air quality conditions during the remaining weeks of summer, the Clean Air Partnership continues to release color-coded, daily air quality forecasts to keep residents informed about air pollution levels in the region and how those levels can affect their health. Signing up to receive air quality forecasts via email at helps to ensure area residents know what the next day’s air quality is forecast to be and if they should alter their outdoor activities to minimize exposure to polluted air, particularly on orange or red “ozone action days.” Since transportation-related emissions also remain one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, walking and biking instead of using a vehicle for short trips, telecommuting, avoiding vehicle idling, as well as carpooling and taking advantage of the region’s public transit system can also greatly impact the amount of ozone-forming emissions on any given day.

The more you know about the air you breathe, the bigger the difference you can make to help people across the St. Louis region breathe easier. To learn more about health effects of exposure to particle pollution and actions you can take to reduce emissions, visit our website at, like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter.