Utah kicks off it’s annual ‘Clear the Air’ challenge

Jun 20, 2023, 6:53 PM | Updated: 6:53 pm

Inversion over Salt Lake City...

FILE: Salt Lake City inversion

SALT LAKE CITY — Utah’s 14th annual Clear the Air challenge is just around the corner with the goal of improving our air by traveling smarter, specifically during the month of July.

Community leaders challenged Utahns to reduce emissions for a month by choosing something other than driving from point A to point B.

“Somedays we can take a walk or ride a bike to work or the grocery store or out to dinner. We can carpool or take public transit to work. We can skip an errand on a particularly polluted day,” Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall said.

Approximately half of Utah’s air pollution is from vehicle emissions.

Researchers have been trying for more than 100 years to understand the major contributors to our air pollution, and how to combat the problem better.

One study showed how a magnesium plant in Tooele County might be adding to the bad air in a much bigger way than previously thought.

What is clear is the impact of auto emissions.

The Clear The Air Challenge started in 2009 and has eliminated more than 1.3 million trips and cut 6,700 tons of emissions.

Mendenhall said, “We are never done. We are always coming up with new ways, we are coming up with new strategies, new programs, policies, questions to ask of industry and government but also listening to our residents.”

She highlighted some new initiatives on Tuesday like installing more electric vehicle chargers at city parks and looking for additional places they are needed.

“Any new building that comes up in this city that receives a significant amount of funding from the city will be all-electric, energy efficient, and climate-friendly, that’s turning the dial on what’s being built in Salt Lake City,” Mendenhall said.

The challenge starts July 1. Everyone is encouraged to take part and remember that even a small change can make a big difference.

You can sign up for the challenge here.

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Utah kicks off it’s annual ‘Clear the Air’ challenge