Every time the Utah inversion hits, Nathan threatens to move our family. I’m kind of against that idea due to how much we love where we live (unless he’s talking somewhere tropical with white sand beaches). But Utah air quality isn’t getting any better; if we don’t do something—and soon—we’ll be chewing the air before we know it.
As much as I love our beautiful mountains, they’re part of the reason the inversion is so bad. We’re basically living in a large bowl, and when the air is colder in the valley than it is on those snowy peaks, the pollution slaps us in the face (and lungs) and the inversion settles in . . . sometimes for weeks at a time.
The picture makes it look magical but magical it is not. That inversion aggravates respiratory problems like asthma and allergies and can even cause respiratory illnesses like bronchitis. Those who normally exercise outdoors find their favorite pastime has become an unhealthy endeavor.
I hate unhealthy endeavors unless we’re talking downing a bag of peanut butter M&Ms.
Younger children and the elderly are especially susceptible to poor air quality, and let’s not forget our furry little friends. With a tiny dog like Coco, we’ve switched from outdoor walks to indoor runs thanks to a laser pointer she loves chasing around the family room.
With the concerns about Utah air quality, I was all over discussing said air quality with Kennecott Utah Copper, a company many believe is behind the inversion problem.
Guess what? They’re not.
Kennecott contributes less than 6% to Utah air quality and even less in winter (3.8%) because they shut down the plant. In fact, Kennecott Utah Copper is doing a lot to improve air quality in Utah.
When you look at the total picture, WE are the ones contributing the most to Utah’s pollution problem. Area sources (houses, restaurants, print shops, etc.) and mobile sources (cars, buses, trucks, etc.) are some of the biggest contributors. We’re idling our cars, leaving our lights on, avoiding mass transit options, and running our kids to school when it’s less than a half mile away.
I’m guilty of all of the above and it’s time for a change.
Here’s a list of ways we can improve Utah air quality. You’re already familiar with a lot of these but are you doing them? I’m sure as heck not. I’m going to start with not idling the car no matter how long I expect to wait.
- Participate in Utah’s Clear the Air Challenge.
- Organize one or more carpools. (I currently have three going…)
- Take public transit.
- Ride a bike or walk.
- Ask if you can telecommute. (I’m a fan unless it’s Nathan telecommuting—he drives me crazy when he’s home.)
- Try e-traveling (e.g., shopping online instead of driving to every mall in Salt Lake County).
- Buy non-toxic cleaning products.
- Put the car on cruise control while on the freeway.
- Purchase Energy Star products.
- Maintain your furnace.
I’m all about baby steps because a lot of baby steps can lead to one giant leap toward better air quality. You can find more baby steps from Utah Clean Air.
Disclosure: I was compensated for my time but the thoughts and opinions expressed in this post are all mine. And I am going to do my best to shop more (online) and idle less.
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