During a press conference announcing Utah’s Clear the Air Challenge Governor Gary Herbert said, "We all wish it would go away but it's not going to happen by wishing."
Utah is one of the worst in the nation when it comes to air quality standards, and believe it or not, 60 percent of the problem is coming out of our tailpipes.
"We all have a responsibility for the air we breathe,” said Gov. Herbert. “It's not just Kennecott; it's not just the refineries it’s them and other commercial sites, other industrial sites and we as private citizens driving our automobiles."
The Clear the Air Challenge was created five years ago to challenge Utah drivers to reduce vehicle emissions by choosing alternatives to driving alone.
Salt Lake County Mayor Ben McAdams said, "Choosing not to start your car one day a week will not seem very powerful, but consider this, if all workers in Salt Lake County avoided using their car just one day a week 700 tons of emissions would be eliminated from our air each year."
Over the last four years, the participants of the Clear the Air Challenge has saved 5.2 million vehicle miles and over 7.5 million pounds of emissions. This year they hope to save even more with new programs launched this year including UTA's Ride Clear passes which allow commuters to ride 7 days for free during the month of July.
UTA’s General Manager Michael Allegra said, "We have 1500 more free passes we're offering out today to anyone who goes on and signs up."
This year’s challenge participants also have Salt Lake's first ever bike sharing program to help them reach their goal.
Director of Salt Lake City’s Green Bikes Ben Bolte said, "I think it's going to help a lot. I think it's going to be a catalyst for a lot of people."
So get on a bike, get on the bus, a train or car pool to work, because like the old adage goes, if you're not part of the solution you're part of the problem.
If you’d like to sign up for the challenge log on to: http://cleartheairchallenge.org/