Organizers declare commuter challenge a success


Although not many from McMaster registered officially for the Canada Commuter Challenge during Environment Week, it was evident to Jennifer Dawson that a large number of faculty, staff and students are committed to improving the Region's air quality.

Dawson is air quality project coordinator for the local non-profit organization Green Venture, which co-organized the challenge along with the Hamilton Air Quality Improvement Committee. She reports that on Thursday, June 8 at the Sterling St. campus entrance, members of her organization gave away water to those entering campus by any means other than single car occupancy. “We handed out seven cases of bottled water in just one hour.” (Each case holds 24 bottles.)

According to Dawson, McMaster averaged 40 participants over the five days, with the highest number – 48 – reported on June 6. Registrants agreed to use alternative means of transportation to the single occupant vehicle, such as walking, riding the bus, or car pooling to work.

“Clearly, there is a difference in the number of people who do use alternative means of transportation and those who registered,” remarked Dawson

The major sources of air pollution are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide. According to calculations using a formula designed by environmental experts, McMaster participants helped reduce air pollution by 355.3 kilograms during the five days.

Dawson expresses satisfaction with the overall results. “I think it went very well, considering it was our first year and there was not much time for companies to organize. It's definitely worth doing again.”