You can help Clear the Air

From the University of Utah's HealthFeed: Expert Health News & Information

From the University of Utah’s HealthFeed: Expert Health News & Information

By Myron Willson, Sustainability Office

Air pollution in Utah is becoming an unwelcome reality. Poor air quality means increased illness and other health complications along with environmental problems and diminished quality of life in our communities.

It’s easy to recognize poor air quality in the winter: The toxic inversions that form during colder months are regularly thick enough to see with the naked eye. Just as troubling, especially during the past couple of weeks, are the summer ozone levels. Ozone—a conglomerate of volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxide that forms on hot, sunny days—can be harmful to human health by exacerbating asthma and causing lung damage.

Hourly ozone levels have peaked in the unhealthy range during the past week, and even the eight-hour average has reached levels that are unhealthy for children, older adults, asthmatics and those suffering from other lung diseases, and people who are active outdoors.

Hourly ozone levels have peaked in the unhealthy range during the past week, and even the eight-hour average has reached levels that are unhealthy for children, older adults, asthmatics and those suffering from other lung diseases, and people who are active outdoors.

The good news is that you can do something by competing in the Clear the Air Challenge. Enter as an individual or team—there are tons of great prizes, but with cleaner air, we’re all winners. Join thousands of fellow University of Utah employees and students by taking part in the 2015 Clear the Air Challenge from July 1-31.

Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer Myron Willson is an avid bike commuter.

Deputy Chief Sustainability Officer Myron Willson is an avid bike commuter.

The Clear the Air Challenge is all about improving air quality, reducing traffic congestion, and conserving energy in Utah by eliminating unnecessary vehicle trips. By eliminating a few vehicle trips throughout your week, you can make a big difference in your community while competing for weekly prizes, grand prizes, and statewide bragging rights.

Clear air is important for the U and you. The Clear the Air Challenge is an excellent opportunity to do something to make a positive impact and be a part of the solution. Take the Challenge and see firsthand what an empowering experience it is to make a positive choice and quantify your impact. The tracker shows how many pounds of emissions, gallons of gas, and dollars we can save when we work together! Register at ClearTheAirChallenge.org to make your commitment.

Join the University of Utah network and select from one of nearly 200 U teams! Let’s see the impact our community can make when we work together. Sign up now at ClearTheAirChallenge.org and start making a difference. Share your efforts on social media using #Ucleartheair. And don’t forget to track your progress by logging into the site from your computer or mobile device.

Let’s drive down some miles!

Myron Willson is the deputy chief sustainability officer at the University of Utah.

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