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Local leaders kick off Clear the Air Challenge

By John Daley | Posted - Jun. 15, 2010 at 4:18 p.m.



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SALT LAKE CITY -- Two mayors and one governor are joining forces in hopes of making a big difference when it comes to one of Utah's biggest problems: air pollution.

Those three top leaders on Tuesday kicked off the 2010 Clear the Air Challenge.


The highest ozone concentrations usually occur between 2 p.m. and 8 p.m. from May through September.

The goal of the Clear the Air Challenge is to decrease the number of miles people drive by taking the train, walking, riding your bike or carpooling.

The challenge takes place takes place from July 1 to July 31.

"Fifty percent of the air pollution that we have in this valley and this state come from the tailpipes of our automobiles and the trucks and the vehicles that we drive," Gov. Gary Herbert said.

The number of No Drive Days

Year Days
200922 days
200826 days
200740 days
200616 days
200512 days
20040 days
200317 days
200215 days
200112 days
20009 days
19990 days
199814 days
DAQ Air Monitoring

Tuesday Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker joined forces with Herbert and Salt Lake County Mayor Peter Corroon to launch a collaborative effort to get residents involved in the fight to reduce vehicle emissions.

"One of the top issues I hear about every year, especially in the winter time, is our air quality," Corroon said.

The challenge aims to get Utahns to drive less and drive smarter.

As a result of last year's highly successful challenge, Utahns eliminated more than 100,000 car trips, saved over 1 million miles and cut 1.7 million pounds of emissions.

The 2010 Clear the Air Challenge is expanding its reach across Utah to engage 10,000 participants to eliminate a total of 300,000 vehicle trips and save 2,000,000 vehicle miles, resulting in a reduction of 3.4 million pounds of emissions.

"It'll make an enormous difference in the amount of pollution that's going into the air," said Becker. "It'll obviously improve our health benefits, improve our quality of life. We'll be able to see our beautiful mountains more and we'll be saving energy."

Ozone health concerns
Ozone can irritate the respiratory system, causing coughing, throat irritation, and/or an uncomfortable sensation in the chest. It can lower your resistance to diseases such as colds and pneumonia. - Choose Clean Air

The campaign is hosting a website where people can take the challenge and find tips. It's asking people to make a personal commitment to drive less this summer.

"It really puts the responsibility where it belongs first, which is on us," Becker said.

Participants can choose from three pledge levels: gold, silver or bronze.

Businesses are also asked to challenge employees to reduce the number of trips they make in their personal vehicles and encouraging employees to create carpools or telecommute.

The challenge has expanded to include an option for businesses and community organizations to sign up as groups and track trips saved in one lump sum.

"It can make the difference," Corroon said. "Everybody can do their part and do a little extra work to help clean the air."

Additional changes to the 2010 challenge include revisions to the online individual trip tracker that make it faster and easier for participants to record their daily data. Many prizes -- including a $500 gift card to Overstock.com, club soccer tickets and a lunch with Mayor Becker -- will be offered to participants.

E-mail: jdaley@ksl.com

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John Daley

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