Smog is the one thing that will take anyone’s breath away. A lot of Utahns have driven up a canyon road only to find that, when they’ve turned around to come home, they are driving back into a cesspool of air pollution.
Currently the Air Quality Index (AQI) places Utah at 110, or at the orange level, which can be unhealthy for sensitive groups of people.
Though most people who live in Utah have adjusted to the winter smog weather that only a strong wind can blow away, any breathing soul has to suffer from the noxious fumes.
The very commodities that are used every day are the same offenders for Utah’s terrible air quality and pollution: cars and trucks, large industries, commercial activities, and residential homes.
According to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, these four categories make up the whole 100 percent of Utah’s pollution woes when referring to gas emissions. Cars and trucks account for 38 percent of the air pollution, large industries in the valleys account for 28 percent, commercial activities account for 26 percent, and homes contribute eight percent.
US Environmental Protection Agency states that, “CO2 emissions from a gallon of gasoline are 2421 grams per gallon, which is equivalent to 19.4 pounds of CO2 being pumped into the air for every gallon of gas.”
On Dec. 29, 2009, Associated Press writer Mike Stark said, “Thick lingering smog trapped along the Salt Lake Valley floor is creating some of the worst air quality in the country.” That day was obviously not the first or last day of almost record breaking smog density for Utah though.
According to familydoctor.org, “Air pollution can irritate the eyes, throat and lungs. Burning eyes, cough and chest tightness are common with exposure to high levels of air pollution. People can react very differently to air pollution. Some people may notice chest tightness or cough, while others may not notice any effects. Exercise requires faster, deeper breathing and it may make the symptoms worse. People who have heart disease, such as angina (chest pain), or lung disease, such as asthma or emphysema, may be very sensitive to air pollution exposure, and may notice symptoms when others do not.”
The website cleanair.utah.gov offers many suggestions to help reduce air quality abuse. Carpooling, driving less and using public transportation like UTA are just a few of the 50 suggestions given.
Prevention and limiting the use of resources is the only way that smog levels will ever come down.