By Jared Mendenhall
Forty-eight percent of winter air pollution along the Wasatch Front comes from mobile sources. Mobile source pollution is the emissions produced by cars and trucks. Reducing these emissions, is one of the easiest things residents can do to improve air quality.
During February, the Salt Lake Chamber sponsors the Clear the Air Challenge. The goal of the Challenge is to help residents learn helpful tools to cut tailpipe emission. Competitors track online how many car trips they save by carpooling, telecommuting, chain tripping, walking and taking public transit.
Employees at the Department of Environmental Quality shared with us how they took part in this year’s Challenge and why they feel it is an important tool in helping Utahns clear the air?
“The Clear the Air Challenge is easier than people think. It only takes a few minutes to participate. It also helps people try out other forms of transportation. Sometimes all it takes is that first trip to realize how easy it is not to drive.”
“I only live 7.5 miles from work. I like to ride my bike when it’s warmer. It saves money and I can get in some exercise.”
“Carpooling is the only time in the day I get my husband all to myself. We work close together so it only makes sense to take one car. Plus, I hate to drive. So I let my husband deal with traffic and other drivers. I just go along for the ride.”
“We know that cars are our biggest cause of air pollution. Efforts to try and reduce trips and cold starts are important in reducing those emissions.”
“Honestly, I don’t like scrapping ice off my windshield. It’s a lot easier just to walk to TRAX. I like to play video games when I’m on the train. That’s why I take public transit. Any chance we have to move cars off the road helps in so many ways—traffic congestion, air quality.”
“Riding public transit can be very relaxing. The first time or two is stressful, for sure. Once you figure out the route, though, it’s a great way to get around. I always bring a book.”
“Technology allows us to take a more flexible approach to work. At DEQ we need someone covering certain responsibilities seven days a week. It just makes more sense to log on from home and do the work then to drive all the way into the office for just a few hours. ”
“I ride transit because it is cheaper than driving and because I believe that every little bit helps and we should all be taking steps to reduce our impact on our environment.”
Thomas Ball Environmental Scientist
Learn more about wintertime air pollution in Utah here. Learn more about the Clear the Air Challenge here.
I am a public information officer for DEQ and a former marketer and magazine editor. Follow me on Instagram @Jarv801.