Most Utahns know that Provo is the state’s third largest city, with 117,000 residents. We have a picturesque location between a big fresh-water lake and gorgeous, towering mountains.

In the winter, however, we suffer the same short-term air-pollution as do other Wasatch Front cities, so in 2011 Mayor John Curtis appointed a Sustainability and Natural Resources Committee to work on air quality, among other things. The committee and the mayor have since conducted annual anti-idling campaigns with flyers sent to the home of every public school student and permanent anti-idling signs posted near every school and many businesses.

In 2013 Mayor Curtis instituted a residents’ six-point pledge program to clear the air, with bright lapel pins available for those who take the pledge. This is being adopted county-wide by the Utah County Clean Air Task Force, which was started by the Utah Valley Chamber of Commerce and Provo City. To view the pledge, click here.

With the Utah County Clean Air Task Force support, we have placed sets of five colored flags with all Provo Schools, fire stations, and the City Center to signal each day’s air quality. View a TV piece on it here.

In 2014, Provo got really serious about clearing the air with the following actions:

  • A bicycle master plan was completed and approved
  • A bus rapid-transit plan was approved and funded
  • Transit-oriented housing was planned, assisted, and begun downtown
  • A joint resolution was sent to the Legislature urging support for cleaner ‘tier 3’ gasoline
  • A detailed city policy for the inversion season was approved and implemented
  • A ‘clean-air tool kit,’ to improve city planning and residents’ actions for cleaner air is being devised by Municipal Council Chair Harold Miller and Envision Utah
  • A city employees’ sustainability committee was appointed
  • Newspaper editorials on Provo’s clean-air pledge program were published

We are grateful to UCAIR for leading the way on air quality and for providing a monthly meeting where many groups can share best practices. Since our air quality is a regional problem that no one city can solve alone, we would love to see all Wasatch Front cities join with UCAIR to clean our air.