Clean the air challenge

While many of the major projects that affect our air quality feel out of our immediate control, there are many individual actions that add up to make a big difference in our quality of life and health. 

This Saturday kicks off Utah’s 14th annual Clean the Air Challenge, which focuses on those individual actions, emphasizing reducing vehicle emissions. We strongly urge you to participate! Mobile source emissions, which includes private vehicle use, are nearly 50% of a typical Wasatch Front inversion.  

Summer ozone is not as visible as our winter inversions but every bit as damaging to your health. Chemical emissions react with sunlight and heat to create ozone. The EPA says “inhaling ozone can cause coughing, shortness of breath, worse asthma or bronchitis symptoms, and irritation and damage to airways.” 

The challenge aims to eliminate 100,000 private vehicle trips. The Utah Division of Air Quality says “if all drivers living along the Wasatch Front were to park their cars just one day per week, vehicle emissions would be reduced by 6,500 tons per year,” which puts into perspective how impactful vehicle emissions actually are. 

So this month, please do your best to walk, bike, carpool, trip pool, or UTA when possible! And be sure to check out our collection of clean air tips on our website! 

Not all mobile emissions are created equal. Diesel trucks are worse for us and more impactful than typical car emissions. This is one of the main reasons UPHE is such a vocal advocate against the Utah Inland Port, which could increase truck trips through the Salt Lake Valley by thousands per day. The Port is attempting to expand across the state, which only spreads the issue and the threat to residents. We can still fight against these new proposed ports so please stay updated with the Stop the Polluting Port Coalition.

Let’s do our best to have a clear sky summer! Photo by Dennis Tangney Jr.