We can all look our our windows and see the dirty inversion settling into our beautiful Utah valleys. With such an enormous problem, it's easy to ask 'what can one person do to make a difference? How can my actions really help Utah's air quality?' The good news is there are simple things you can start doing today to improve our air.
Firstly, what is inversion anyway? Simply put, an inversion occurs when cold air is trapped below warm atmospheric air. Read more about how atmospheric conditions make Utah's winter months so challenging. We may not be able to change the existence of inversions, but we can take steps to clean it up.
Image from Ucair
Perhaps its surprising how much is already being done to clean our air. Utah Governor Gary Herbert’s State of the State address last week included an encouraging look at what Utah is doing right to improve air quality. He pointed out that:
* Utah is now the fastest growing state in America, which means more trucks and automobiles contributing to air pollution.
* He will fast-track the arrival of cleaner fuels, cleaner cars and getting people to drive less and to conserve more.
* $35Million from the Volkswagen settlement will be used in giving Utahns the largest sustainable reduction of pollution possible--including replacing high-polluting diesel engines, including those in our older diesel-burning school buses.
* While Utah's population increased by more that 600,000 between 2002 and 2014, total statewide emission declined by 30 percent. That's a 46 percent reduction in per capita emissions.
* Utah is requiring refineries and other large industries to invest hundred of millions of dollars in the best available emission control technology.
* Utah is expanding our transit system faster than any state in the country.
* Utah is educating the public about things we all can do such as carpooling and turning down our thermostats.
* Utah is engaging with industry to encourage the construction of more energy efficient buildings.
* Utah is now in the top 10 in the nation for electric vehicle adoption and number one for Compressed Natural Gas infrastructure.
* Governor Herbert will tour the state to highlight actions that are making a positive difference for air quality--such as the refineries that are accelerating the arrival of low-sulfer fuels to our market. And along the way, he says, "I will also visit those organization that need a little extra encouragement to help us make measurable improvements to our air quality."
To read the full State of the State Address see here.
The good news is that people from all sectors are working together to improve Utah's air. And you can help, too. Here are three things you can do to help improve air quality:
1. Combine errand runs into one trip
2. Use active transportation and public transit
3. Stop idling vehicles longer than 10-30 seconds
Brittany Guerra, Utah Department of Health Asthma Program, Jan. 30, 2017
eSpokes is a proponent of active transportation and encouraging each of us to take small steps to make a big impact on our air quality. We can all do our part in making our air cleaner.
UCAIR Annual Meeting is Feb. 2nd, 2017
To join the 2nd Annual UCAIR Summit presented by Merit Medical and featuring Governor Gary Herbert and world-class mountaineer Conrad Anker. Get Tickets here.