Spotlight On: Maritz

Founded in 1894 as E. Maritz Jewelry, the company got its start as a wholesaler and manufacturer of fine jewelry and engraved watches. Better known today as Maritz, the company is now a leader in sales and marketing services that designs and operates employee recognition and reward programs, sales channel incentives and customer loyalty programs. Despite the shift in direction, Maritz has remained committed to doing their part for the environment and air quality by reducing waste, water consumption, power usage and paper dependence to help future generations thrive.

Maritz was a proud participant in the 2021 St. Louis Green Business Challenge, shifting focus from their St. Louis-based Green Team to a more hybrid Green Team that incorporated its field offices and remote workers using Microsoft Teams. During the 2021 Challenge, Maritz earned the esteemed title of Challenge Champion for completing work with the Leader scorecard and committing to continued implementation of deeper sustainability strategies.

“I am amazed at the adaptability that the St. Louis Green Business Challenge has displayed during the COVID-19 crisis,” said Chuck Winkle, Maritz Green Team Board Member. “Businesses changed radically and the Challenge team at the Missouri Botanical Garden responded with innovative methods that allowed the participants to still make improvements.”

Within the local Maritz facilities, the company worked to replace all existing natural draft gas boilers with newer condensing hot water boilers, which allowed for a 17% increase in overall energy efficiency, improving from 80% to 97%. At the St. Louis headquarters, Maritz also entered into the planning phase for a construction project to repurpose a vacant 35,000 square-foot building into a multi-purpose green space. Moreover, the replacement building will save the company on average 20,000 therms per year.

Beyond these impressive accomplishments, Maritz partnered with Greg Cooksey at Midwest Recycling Center (MRC) to organize an e-Waste recycling event last spring. In all, the City of Fenton and Maritz collected over 15 tons of equipment that was diverted from landfills. The event was deemed a huge success and collected the third largest amount of electronic waste over the past 12 years of hosting it.

Last but not least, Maritz Motivation – a division of Maritz that works with marketing, human resources, sales and channel marketing executives to provide consumer loyalty, channel loyalty, employee engagement and sales incentive solutions to Fortune 100 companies – began offering clients eco-friendly options for the Client Fulfillment and Mailing Services division. This included upcycled, dissolvable and recycled materials for containers, packing materials and communications.

The Clean Air Partnership is pleased to recognize the efforts of businesses such as Maritz that continue to take action for cleaner air by channeling their time and energy towards practicing sustainability. For additional information on how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter, or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Create a Buzz for National Honey Bee Day to Help Clear the Region’s Air

Beekeepers, beekeeping clubs and associations, and honey bee enthusiasts from all across the country will join forces for National Honey Bee Day on August 20th to honor the insect responsible for more than 1/3 of the food we eat. The buzzing celebration recognizes their contribution to our everyday lives as a means of protecting this critical species for future generations, as well as pays homage to beekeepers whose efforts ensure we have bees to pollinate our crops and support the plants that provide the air we breathe.

While you’ve likely seen #SaveTheBees plastered on t-shirts, mugs and images online, you’ve maybe asked yourself – why are honey bees so important anyways? The simplest answer is that bees are one of the world’s most important pollinators for food crops. Pollination occurs when insects like bees travel from one plant to the next, fertilizing the plant. Honey bees have little hairs all over their body that attract pollen, and when the pollen from a flower sticks to a bee, it then travels along to its next destination. When a bee lands on the next plant or flower, the pollen is distributed and results in cross-pollination, which is a process that later produces fruits, vegetables and seeds.

You also might be surprised to learn that the value of bees goes beyond supplying the food we eat, as they’re a vital part of maintaining the lungs of our planet. Pollination yields many environmental benefits for clean air as flowering plants and trees produce breathable oxygen by utilizing the carbon dioxide produced by plants and animals through respiration. However, levels of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere have been rapidly increasing in the last century due to increased burning of fossil fuels and destruction of vital forests. Without honey bees and other pollinators, populations of plants would decline, even if soil, air, nutrients and other life-sustaining elements were available.

Just as we count on the hard work of honey bees to keep our food and oxygen sources growing and accessible, they’re counting on us to build and support a planet that welcomes them. If you’re looking for ways to celebrate National Honey Bee Day at home next Saturday, there are plenty of projects that can make a huge difference for your local bee population. For starters, consider making your yard more bee-friendly and air-quality friendly by committing to using environmentally conscious pesticides, since those intended for weeds or nuisance bugs can have deadly consequences for innocent pollinators and result in habitat loss. Furthermore, stocking your cabinets with whole-comb honey and local, raw honey not only supports small, local beekeepers, but through supply and demand also encourages pollinators in your area. As an added bonus, eating local honey has been linked to a myriad of health benefits, including a strengthened immune system and the ability to reduce seasonal allergies.

Doing your share for cleaner air and helping to protect the bees for National Honey Bee Day is a reward that’s even sweeter than the honey they create!  To learn more about the link between living greener and our air quality, visit the Clean Air Partnership’s website at cleanair-stlouis.com, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Understanding Particle Pollution and Your Health

The more researchers learn about the health effects of particle pollution, the more dangerous it is recognized to be. In the years covered by the American Lung Association’s latest “State of the Air” report (2018-2020), findings reveal close to 63.2 million people lived in the 96 counties that experienced unhealthy spikes in particulate matter air pollution, which represents close to 8.9 million more people over a larger area than in last year’s report and more people than in any of the last seven reports. Likewise, some 20.3 million people lived in the 21 counties where year-round particle pollution levels do not meet the national air quality standard and received a failing grade. St. Louis is among the areas that received an “F” grade, ranking 24th for the most-polluted U.S. cities by year-round particle pollution.

Particle pollution — also known as particulate matter — refers to a mixture of tiny bits of solids and liquids in the air we breathe that comes from a variety of sources. These include factories, power plants, diesel- and gasoline-powered motor vehicles, and equipment that either directly emit fine particles or generate precursors such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) that can form into fine particles in the atmosphere. Though these individual particles may be too small to be visible to the human eye, when pollution levels are high, they can cause the air to appear thick and hazy, making it dangerous to breathe and triggering illness, hospitalization and premature death in some cases.

While anyone who lives where particle pollution levels are high is at risk, some people face an increased risk based on their underlying health and other characteristics. Research has shown that groups most at risk include pregnant people and fetuses, infants, children, older adults, people with existing lung conditions, people who work or exercise outdoors and those who live along busy highways or roadways. Exposure to particulate matter emitted from motor vehicles has been linked to poor birth outcomes, reduced lung and cognitive development, development and worsening of chronic respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, dementia and cancer. Decades of research have also firmly established that breathing particle pollution day in and day out can even be deadly, with elevated risks of mortality from cardiovascular and respiratory causes, including heart disease, stroke, influenza and pneumonia.

The good news is, cleaning up particle pollution does make a difference, and studies have shown a consistent relationship between decreased particle pollution levels in communities and improved respiratory health in both children and adults. Thankfully, the St. Louis region offers plenty of resources to aid in this effort to improve the quality of the air we breathe and protect lung health.

For starters, the Clean Air Partnership encourages area residents to visit SwitchUpYourCommute.com to learn more about the air quality benefits of taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, biking or telecommuting. The site also provides detailed information about all transportation options that extend beyond driving in single-occupancy vehicles available on both sides of the Mississippi River – and links to associated schedules, pricing, programs, ride matching services, incentives and more.

For more information about the health effects of exposure to particle pollution and tips to reduce emissions, visit the Clean Air Partnership website, like us on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter. To access the American Lung Association’s 2022 “State of the Air” report, visit lung.org/sota.

Spotlight On: The City of Clayton

As a returning participant in the St. Louis Green Cities Challenge in 2021, the City of Clayton reinvented its commitment of sustainability through the identification of new priorities and implementation of new projects to make Clayton a greener place to live, work and learn.

Known for its bustling business district and charming residential neighborhoods, the City of Clayton aims to foster a diverse and inclusive community by offering something for everyone. With a strong record of valuing sustainability, the city has been recognized for its outstanding recycling programs, use of rain gardens, city-wide smoking ban and dedication to green building design embedded in its culture and operations. Led by the city’s Sustainability Committee, Clayton continues to prioritize green practices, identifying additional ways they can continue to be a sustainability leader in the region.

During the 2021 Challenge, the City of Clayton Parks & Recreation Department began to replace High Pressure Sodium (HPS) lights in the parks with LED light bulbs, which are more energy efficient and produce zero toxic elements. Clayton’s Public Works Dept. also replaced all compact fluorescent bulbs in City Hall, taking advantage of Ameren Missouri rebates that offer instant savings for purchasing qualified LEDs.

Moreover, the City of Clayton’s Parks and Public Works Superintendents took a new approach to storm clean-up last year to improve efficiencies. While these departments typically work independently, they determined that clearing streets, sidewalks and parks by area of Clayton as one coordinated unit would result in a significant reduction in miles driven in addition to labor costs, reducing emissions, etc. To take things one step further, the city’s Public Works and Parks & Recreation Departments consolidated mowing contracts to cut back on the number of contractors working in the city, thereby reducing the number of vehicles/equipment and associated emissions. The Public Works Department has also been recycling concrete, asphalt and steel on its construction projects since 2009, diverting over 35,000 tons of construction materials from landfills, which also positively benefits the quality of the air we breathe!

Last but not least, the City of Clayton has gone green at City Hall by transitioning to online operations for various functions that used to take place in person, saving paper and other office supplies, as well as reducing commute times by eliminating the need to drive for trips to their facilities. Two R-22 AC chiller units – which contain ozone-depleting hydrochlorofluorocarbon substances – were also replaced at City Hall-Fire Station with more eco-friendly, energy efficient units to help improve air quality.

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Clayton and how your municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to the bi-monthly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com.  To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore the Clean Air Partnership website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. 

 

Spotlight On: Cortex Innovation Community

Founded 20 years ago through a collaboration of Washington University, BJC HealthCare, University of Missouri – St. Louis, Saint Louis University and the Missouri Botanical Garden, the Cortex Innovation Community is an internationally recognized, 200-acre urban hub of innovation and entrepreneurship focused on accelerating inclusive economic growth in St. Louis. As a place for big thinkers and risk takers, the district strives to create a space where businesses and the people who create, work for and access them are supported to help make the region globally competitive.

Cortex Innovation Community was pleased to participate in the 2021 St. Louis Green Business Challenge with a focus the development of a districtwide Sustainability Plan. During the Challenge, Cortex Innovation Community earned the esteemed title of Challenge Champion for completing work with the Leader scorecard and committing to continued implementation of deeper sustainability strategies.

The framework for the Cortex Sustainability Plan will help guide future decision-making and provide a structure and roadmap to improve the health of their environment and community. Part of the strategy focuses on supporting and partnering with regional sustainability organizations to add value to their ongoing goals and objectives, while leveraging existing initiatives and using the hub for innovation and a testing ground for new technologies. Other areas of focus for the Sustainability Plan include District Building Design Standards (for tenants); Placemaking & Landscaping; Regeneration & Living Infrastructure; Mobility & Transportation; Energy & Emissions; Waste & Circular Economy; Food & Nutrition; Beauty & Vibrancy and more.

Among Cortex Innovation Community’s other impressive accomplishments to receive recognition in the Challenge was a collaboration with Native Landscape Solutions to plant native Missouri prairie grass to help restore biodiversity and soil health to a section of the Cortex Commons. Another partnership with PocketParks helped to create a sunflower field on the long vacant block at Forest Park and Vandeventer Avenues, while an additional partnership was forged with Cambridge Innovation Center (CIC) to organize a trash pick-up event for the district.

To further reduce environmental impact, Cortex Innovation Community also installed eight electric vehicle chargers on the first floor of their parking garage to make it easier for the community to adopt the use of electric vehicles, which are better for the air because they reduce the amount of harmful CO2 emissions released into the atmosphere.

The Clean Air Partnership is delighted to recognize the efforts of entities such as the Cortex Innovation Community that continue to take action for cleaner air by channeling their time and energy towards practicing sustainability. For additional information on how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit www.stlouisgreenchallenge.com. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore our website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Keeping Lung Health Top of Mind As Summer Heats Up

According to the American Lung Association’s latest “State of the Air” report, the three years covered by the report (2018-2020) ranked among the seven hottest years on record globally. With June already having seen some of the hottest days in years in the St. Louis region and the prime of summer approaching – where warmer weather and stagnant air create conditions that make ozone more likely to form – the importance of keeping the region’s air clean remains at an all-time high.

While anyone who spends time outdoors where ozone pollution levels are high may be at risk, the health burden of air pollution is not evenly shared, as some groups of people are especially vulnerable to illness and death from their exposure. Research has shown that people of color are more likely to be exposed to air pollution and suffer harm to their health from breathing polluted air. Over the years, decision-makers have found it easier to place sources of pollution, such as power plants, industrial facilities, landfills and highways, in economically disadvantaged communities of color. The resulting disproportionate exposure to air pollution has contributed to high rates of emergency department visits for asthma and other diseases. Report findings revealed some 72 million people of color live in counties that received at least one failing grade for ozone and/or particle pollution, with over 14 million people of color living in counties that received failing grades on all three measures.

There’s also evidence that having low income or living in lower income areas puts people at increased risk from air pollution. People living in poverty are more likely to live in close proximity to sources of pollution since they have fewer resources to relocate than those with more financial security, as well as having less access to quality and affordable health care to provide relief to them when they get sick. In the U.S. alone, more than 15.9 million people with incomes meeting the federal poverty definition live in counties that received an “F” grade for at least one pollutant. Children, older adults and people living with chronic conditions – especially heart and lung disease – may also be physically more susceptible to the health impacts of air pollution than others.

To help keep area residents informed about ozone pollution levels in the region and how those levels can affect their health, the Clean Air Partnership releases color-coded, daily air quality forecasts during the summer months to let individuals know what the next day’s air quality is forecast to be and if they should alter their outdoor activities to minimize exposure to polluted air, particularly on orange or red ozone action days. Area residents can visit SwitchUpYourCommute.com to sign up to receive the daily air quality forecast via email or text and to learn more about alternative transportation options that extend beyond driving in single-occupancy vehicles. These include taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, biking or telecommuting, all of which positively impact the quality of air St. Louisans breathe!

For more information and a host of additional tips to beat the summer heat to help clear the air and protect human health, visit cleanair-stlouis.com, like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow @gatewaycleanair on Twitter.

Spotlight On: The City of Brentwood

As the Clean Air Partnership continues to spotlight local municipalities utilizing innovative approaches to create cleaner, greener environments for constituents, this month we’re pleased to recognize the City of Brentwood for its commitment to sustainability that shapes city operations and future planning.

Having proudly returned to participate in the 2021 Green Cities Challenge for a second year, the City of Brentwood’s new Sustainability Commission – which is led by five residents and two elected officials – began working on a new city-wide Sustainability Plan. With each city department continuing to set goals and objectives related to sustainability, the city strives to keep learning and incorporating green practices into the range of operational requirements unique to its local government.

Among the city’s impressive accomplishments to receive recognition in the Challenge included the installation of four free public electric vehicle chargers, a bike repair station and new bike hoop, the launch of a new city-wide composting program, four residential paper shredding events and electronics recycling drives, and the planting of 89 trees to help rebuild urban forests. Another highlight was a Grow Solar Power Hour virtual program to increase education of solar technology and its investment potential with neighbors, local business owners and community leaders. To further reduce environmental impact, the City of Brentwood offered environmental education opportunities for youth and adults in their Parks & Recreation brochures and educated residents about recycling and other sustainable practices through various social media channels, newsletters and their website.

Additionally, the city adopted stormwater management requirements for all new and infill residential development and completed an ADA-compliant trail that includes use of porous and flexible Rubberway, partially composed of recycled rubber tires. With an eye on continued progress and building a bright future for its citizens, work is also underway on Brentwood Bound – the major flood mitigation project that will restore floodplain, add trails and greenspaces, and link multiple parks in a highly visible location. Also, during the 2021 Challenge, the City of Brentwood received a $300,000 grant from the Missouri Department of Resources’ Division of Environmental Quality, Soil and Water Conservation Program for design and construction of an extended wetland pond north of the confluence of Deer Creek and Black Creek. The funds will also grant Brentwood the opportunity to enhance the design of the confluence point to aid in flood mitigation and confer significant water quality benefits, which will in turn positively benefit air quality, too!

For additional information on the sustainable efforts underway by the City of Brentwood and how your organization or municipality can get involved in the Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit stlouisgreenchallenge.com. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore the Clean Air Partnership’s website, like us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair.

Spotlight On: COCA

As a national leader in innovative arts education, the Center of Creative Arts (COCA) provides meaningful arts experiences in its studios, gallery and theatres, as well as in schools, community centers, and corporate settings around St. Louis. Serving more than 50,000 people annually of all ages, backgrounds and ability levels – from enthusiastic amateurs to emerging professionals – COCA uses the power of the arts and education to build a vibrant St. Louis that is creative, connected and inclusive. 

A returning participant in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, COCA earned the esteemed title of Challenge Champion for their dedication to implementing environmentally friendly measures into everyday operational practices. With an ongoing commitment to caring for the environment in which they do their work, COCA’s Green Team has done a great job celebrating what the company is already doing right and identifying opportunities to grow their sustainability initiatives in creative ways. 

During the 2021 Challenge, COCA replenished its stock of reusable water bottles to promote the use of the facility’s water bottle filling stations, which have helped eliminate an impressive 60,724 disposable plastic water bottles to date. To further conserve energy and resources, COCA participated in Ameren Missouri’s BizSavers program for energy efficiency improvements to save $7,705 in incentives, as well as phased out the purchasing of fluorescent light bulbs in its historic Kuehner Wing, so that all facility lighting fixtures are now equipped to handle air quality-friendly, LED energy efficient bulbs. 

Other noteworthy innovations that helped COCA earn recognition in the Challenge include the promotion of sustainability through Youth Arts Education by integrating green themes into a portion of their summer camp programs. These included gardening themes where young participants explored gardens through art, stories and planting, in addition to upcycle camps where students pushed the boundaries of creativity through the repurposing of books, clothing and various other items. Moreover, during COCA’s annual Cleanup Day, “Reduce, Reuse and Recycle” themes were heavily promoted to help reduce harmful emissions resulting from the amount of waste that winds up in landfills. 

Last but certainly not least, COCA staff continued to operate in a hybrid work environment last year, where employees were able to work remotely as needed to cut back on commuting and travel times, which also positively benefits the region’s air quality! 

The Clean Air Partnership is pleased to recognize the efforts of organizations like COCA that continue to do their share for cleaner air by channeling their time and energy towards practicing sustainability. For additional information on how your company can get involved in the St. Louis Green Business Challenge, subscribe to their weekly E-Newsletter or visit stlouisgreenchallenge.com. To learn more about the link between sustainability and air quality, explore cleanair-stlouis.com,  like the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook or follow us on Twitter at @gatewaycleanair. 

St. Louisans Encouraged to Take Action for Cleaner Air Based on Latest “State of the Air” Results

The recently released American Lung Association’s 2022 “State of the Air” report reveals that, despite decades of progress on cleaning up sources of air pollution, more than 40% of Americans – over 137 million people – are living in places with failing grades for unhealthy levels of ozone or particle pollution. This is 2.1 million more people breathing unhealthy air compared to the years covered by the 2021 report (2017-2019), which reinforces the need to protect our local communities from the continued risks to public health resulting from high levels of ozone and particle pollution.

For the sixth consecutive year, the St. Louis region escaped being ranked among the top 25 most ozone-polluted cities in the U.S., coming in at number 37 on the list. While this is 11 spots back from last year, the area did rank 24th on the list for most polluted cities by year-round particle pollution. Even this, however, is an improvement from 2021, where St. Louis landed in a four-way tie for the 20th spot on the list. The “State of the Air” report findings also have added to the evidence that a changing climate is making it harder to protect human health, with the three years included in this year’s report (2018-2020) ranking among the seven hottest years on record globally. Spikes in particle pollution and high ozone days related to extreme heat and other factors are putting millions more people at risk and adding challenges to the work that states and cities are doing nationwide to clean up air pollution.

It’s long been reported that transportation-related emissions are one of the biggest contributors to air pollution, and that is the catalyst for a new “Don’t Pollute. Switch Up Your Commute.” campaign launched earlier this month by more than half a dozen partners, who collectively provide an array of transportation options that extend beyond driving in single-occupancy vehicles along with resources and incentives for doing so. The summerlong effort aims to inform people the way they choose to travel impacts the quality of air St. Louis area residents breathe, while motivating them to modify commuting behaviors as often as they are able. Area residents can visit www.SwitchUpYourCommute.com to download the color-coded air quality forecast, which provides daily updates via email or text stating if the forecast for the following day is a GREEN (good), YELLOW (moderate), ORANGE (unhealthy for sensitive groups) or RED (unhealthy) air quality day. From there, individuals are being encouraged to show they care about clean air by taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, biking or telecommuting. The site provides detailed information about all transportation options available on both sides of the Mississippi River – and links to associated schedules, pricing, programs, ride matching services, incentives and more.

“Research shows that exposure to traffic-related pollution is a serious health hazard for everyone, but especially for populations most at risk, such as children and older adults, people of color, people experiencing poverty and individuals with underlying health conditions,” Fuchs added. “Although any community can experience days with unhealthy levels of air pollution – regardless of their grade or ranking in the ‘State of the Air’ report – this takes on additional significance for the close to 19.8 million individuals living in counties that received an “F” grade for all three air pollution measures.”

Additional air quality information and other tips to help clear the air can be accessed by visiting the Clean Air Partnership’s website at cleanair-stlouis.com, liking the Clean Air Partnership on Facebook, or by following the organization on Twitter @gatewaycleanair. To access the American Lung Association’s 2022 “State of the Air” report, visit lung.org.

“Don’t Pollute. Switch Up Your Commute. $ee the Savings” This Air Quality Forecasting Season

Transportation is one of the biggest contributors to air pollution. In conjunction with the start of the Clean Air Partnership’s daily air quality forecasting season, more than half a dozen partners, who collectively provide an array of transportation options that extend beyond driving in single-occupancy vehicles along with resources and incentives for doing so, joined forces to launch a “Don’t Pollute. Switch Up Your Commute.” campaign. With increasing numbers of people heading back to their offices as we move beyond the COVID-19 pandemic, this summerlong effort will work to inform people the way they choose to travel impacts the quality of air St. Louis area residents breathe, while motivating them to modify commuting behaviors as often as they are able.

“The St. Louis region is no stranger to poor air quality conditions,” said Susannah Fuchs, Director of Clean Air for the American Lung Association in Missouri. “There is a lot of work to be done to protect our communities from the continued risks to public health resulting from high levels of ozone, particularly during the summer months. It’s very important that commuters stay informed about the air we breathe and continue to take voluntary steps to reduce emissions to help improve outcomes.”

Area residents can visit www.SwitchUpYourCommute.com to sign up to receive color-coded air quality forecasts, which provide daily updates via email or text stating if the forecast for the following day is a GREEN (good), YELLOW (moderate), ORANGE (unhealthy for sensitive groups) or RED (unhealthy) air quality day. The first 200 people to download the forecast will receive a free, STL-STYLE campaign t-shirt. From there, individuals are being encouraged to show they care about clean air by taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling, walking, biking or telecommuting as often as they can.

“The region is in a race for cleaner air and the campaign is two-fold,” added Kimberly Cella, Executive Director for Citizens for Modern Transit. “First, partners aim to educate. Then, as the summer heats up and the potential for poor air quality days to be forecasted increases, we want people to take action.”

When an ORANGE or RED air quality day is forecasted, those who signed up for the forecast will receive a text message asking if they plan to modify their commute the following day – and if so – how. These respondents – along with those who post a picture of themselves on Instagram, Facebook or Twitter taking transit, carpooling, vanpooling or telecommuting on a poor air quality day and include #SwitchUpYourCommute – will be entered to win a variety of prizes through the end of the air quality forecasting season.

The partners behind the “Don’t Pollute. Switch Up Your Commute.” campaign – which include Citizens for Modern Transit, the Clean Air Partnership, Commute with Enterprise, Madison County Transit District, Metro Transit, the Missouri Department of Transportation, RideFinders and St. Clair County Transit District – kicked-off the summerlong effort during the morning commute on Monday, May 2, 2022. Representatives were at various Metro Transit Centers and parking lots throughout the region handing out keychain coin pouches as well as educational materials. Throughout the summer, they will also be asking local businesses and organizations to join in this race for cleaner air by encouraging their employees and colleagues to take part in this campaign.

To learn more about the region’s air quality, transportation options, campaign efforts and how area businesses can get involved, visit www.SwitchUpYourCommute.com.