Thursday, June 17 is Dump the Pump Day and MARTA, the Metropolitan Atlanta Rapid Transit Authority, and the Georgia Aquarium have joined forces to sponsor a video and blog contest. The deadline for the "Why MARTA Matters to the Environment" contest ends today.

The contest has two age divisions - one for youth aged 13 to 17 and one for adults 18 and older. The first place prize winners in both the video and blog categories will receive a Flip HD Camcorder, two annual passes to the Georgia Aquarium and a MARTA Breeze card that is valid for one year. Second place winners will each receive a $50 gift card to Best Buy as well as one annual pass to the Georgia Aquarium and a one-month MARTA Breeze card.

Video submissions must be approximately three minutes in length and blog posts should be around 300 words. A registration form must also accompany each submission. This form is available on Marta's official Dump the Pump website.

Every year, MARTA participates in Dump the Pump Day, which is an awareness campaign sponsored by the American Public Transportation Association (APTA). This year marks the fifth year that the APTA and public transit agencies across the nation have encouraged Americans to Dump the Pump and use mass transit. Using mass transit saves consumers money on gasoline and car wear and tear but also reduces the amount of oil consumption by Americans. With the Gulf Oil Spill an ongoing problem, the topic of oil use is on the forefront of most Americans' minds.

For those that don't use public transportation on a regular basis, Dump the Pump Day is a great way to give mass transit a try. Instead of being stuck in traffic, commuters can relax while riding a bus or train or even use a laptop to get some work done. To help encourage Atlanta residents to participate in this annual event, MARTA is even offering a 7-day pass for $10. This pass must be purchased between June 14 and June 18. Seniors and individuals with disabilities can purchase a discounted pass for only $5 in honor of Dump the Pump Day.