Summer 2022 is here and the Salt Lake Valley is gearing up for warm temperatures and Ozone filled skies. Are you ready to take the Clear the Air Challenge with us?
The Clear the Air Challenge is a month-long competition that gives you the chance to reduce your vehicle emissions by choosing alternative methods of transportation using TravelWise strategies. By driving less and driving smarter, you will ultimately help improve air quality, reduce traffic congestion and conserve energy in Utah.
While the Challenge has often been in the winter months, Clear the Air 2022 is targeting summer months to combat Ozone. Summer ozone occurs when chemical emissions react with sunlight and heat. Whenever you drive a car, use gasoline-powered yard tools, or enjoy air conditioning indoors, Nitrogen Oxide (NOx) and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are released into the air. These chemicals bake in the sunlight and create what we call “summer ozone,” which contaminates the quality of the air we breathe. Summer ozone is not visible, like inversion is in the winter, making it potentially more dangerous if citizens are not aware of its impact. For more information, check out UCAIR’s website.
Utah is also starting to see more and more wildfire smoke affecting our summertime air quality. While we can’t always prevent those fires, we can reduce the pollution in the air by reducing our driving.
How does this affect our workforce here in Salt Lake City?
In general, the air we breathe affects our work.
In 2015, WHO and OECD estimated that the economic cost of premature death and disability from air pollution in Europe is close to USD 1.6 trillion. Air pollution takes its toll on the economy in several ways: it costs human lives, it reduces people’s ability to work, it affects vital products like food, it damages cultural and historical monuments, it reduces the ability of ecosystems to perform functions societies need and it costs money in remediation or restoration. – More info
Global air pollution-related healthcare costs are projected to increase from USD 21 billion (using constant 2010 USD and PPP exchange rates) in 2015 to USD 176 billion in 2060. By 2060, the annual number of lost working days, which affect labour productivity, are projected to reach 3.7 billion (currently around 1.2 billion) at the global level. – More info
Founded in 2009 by the Salt Lake City Sustainability Office, this challenge is run by the Salt Lake Chamber. It’s a statewide program and is issued for business, government, and community leaders across the state. The Clear the Air Challenge is team-based and has focused on corporate and business engagement, but there have also been teams created by radio stations and non-profits for the general public to use to get involved. Anyone can start a team!
For more information on how to participate and log your trips, head to https://cleartheairchallenge.org/.