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‘Clear the Air Challenge’ hopes to reduce vehicle pollution

PUTNEY, ENGLAND - JANUARY 10: Exhaust fumes from a car in Putney High Street on January 10, 2013 in Putney, England. Local media are reporting local environmental campaigners claims that levels of traffic pollutants, mostly nitrogen dioxide, have breached upper safe limits in the busy street in south west London. (Photo by Peter Macdiarmid/Getty Images)

SALT LAKE CITY, Utah — The Salt Lake Chamber, UCAIR and TravelWise partnered together to kick off its 11th annual Clear the Air challenge Saturday. The monthlong challenge encourages Utahns to reduce their vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to driving alone.

The challenge started in 2009, and has contributed to a reduction in vehicle pollution and better air quality in the state, according to a press release sent to KSL NewsRadio. In that time, participants eliminated 1.2 million trips, saved more than 16 million miles and reduced emissions by five thousand tons.

“Poor air quality doesn’t just hinder the views of our beautiful mountains,” said Derek Miller, president and CEO of the Salt Lake Chamber and Downtown Alliance, in a statement. “It jeopardizes our health, and it hinders our ability to keep businesses and jobs coming to our state. Since each of us contributes to emissions that lead to poor air quality during inversions, we all have an opportunity and responsibility to make a difference.”

According to the three-group partnership, transportation emissions contribute to nearly half of all pollutants affecting Utah’s air quality. To encourage Utahns to participate in the Clear the Air challenge, they suggest strategies like carpooling, using public transit, walking, riding a bike or scooter, etc.

“We recognize that there are no perfect answers to keep our air clean, but there are practical solutions,” said Thom Carter, UCAIR executive director, in a statemnet. “These strategies represent many of the practical steps all of us can take to make a difference for our air. While the Clear the Air Challenge takes place for just one month, we hope it will provide Utahns the opportunity to start new habits and think about how their individual behaviors contribute to our air quality challenges.”


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