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The Salt Lake Chamber, along with its partners UCAIR and TravelWise, kicked off the 11th Annual Clear the Air Challenge. Issued by business, government and community leaders, the Challenge is a month-long competition designed to encourage Utahns to reduce their vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to driving alone.

Transportation emissions are responsible for nearly fifty percent of the pollutants that make up Utah’s poor air quality. By driving smarter, we can protect our health, environment, economy and quality of life. For this reason, participants of the Clear the Air Challenge use TravelWise strategies like carpooling, using public transit, teleworking, trip chaining, walking and riding their bike or scooter to reduce their emissions and help clear Utah’s air.

“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. “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.”

Since the Challenge started in 2009, participants have helped make a big difference in improving Utah’s air quality. In that time, participants have eliminated almost 1.2 million trips, saved more than 16 million miles and reduced their emissions by more than 5 thousand tons.

“We recognize that there are no perfect answers to keep our air clean, but there are practical solutions,” said Thom Carter, UCAIR executive director. “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.”

By encouraging employees to participate, businesses can create a team to make an even bigger impact. The Clear the Air Challenge begins February 1. Register your team of coworkers, family or friends at ClearTheAirChallenge.org and be part of the solution.