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Smog smackdown begins with Utah's Clear the Air Challenge

Published June 19, 2013 3:04 pm

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2013, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Less is more this summer with the beginning of the 2013 Clear the Air Challenge to drive less and pollute less during Utah's smoggiest month.

At Wednesday's kickoff for the fifth annual pollution-reduction campaign, supporters announced another 1,500 weeklong transit passes are being offered on a first-come, first-served basis online at utarideclear.com.

The first 2,500 of the "Ride Clear" passes offered earlier this month by Zion's Bank and the Utah Transit Authority were snapped up within two days.

Supporters — including Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker and Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams — emphasized everyone can take at least small steps to reduce the emissions that, combined with sun and heat, generate ozone pollution, the unhealthy air we often call smog.

"What you do one day a week or every day makes a difference," said McAdams, noting that if every driver in the county didn't use their cars one day a week about 700 tons of emissions would be eliminated each year.

"It doesn't matter what part of the county you wake up in, if you are a Baby Boomer or a Gen Xer. It doesn't matter what your socioeconomic status is or your political affiliation, breathing clean air every day is an issue that transcends culture, age and party. It's a goal we can all get behind," he said.

Jonathan Johnson vowed to incorporate Clean Air Challenge ideas into the workday at Overstock.com, where he is acting CEO, and to dig into a friendly competition with other contest participants. Johnson also leads the Clean Air Task Force of the Salt Lake Area Chamber of Commerce.

More telecommuting, mass transit and carpooling are among the ways Utahns can spare the air from unnecessary pollution, the campaign suggests.

More tips and contest guidelines for individuals and teams can be found online at cleartheairchallenge.org.

fahys@sltrib.com

Twitter: @judyfutah Clear the Air Challenge goals:

This year's contest hopes to sign up 10,000 participants, cut vehicle trips by 300,000 and trim miles traveled by 2 million. In the past four years, roughly 11,000 participants have trimmed 5.2 million miles and save $3 million in gasoline costs. An estimated 7.8 million pounds of pollution has already been cut through the annual contest.