Salt Lake City is consistently ranked in the top ten in the nation for having the worst air quality in the United States.
Utah is a beautiful state; it is a place where outdoor enthusiasts can do everything from skiing to boating to rock climbing. The only drawback is that residents along the Wasatch Front live encased in mountains, which under the right conditions can produce inversions that trap pollution in the valley.
Residents and lawmakers, including Senator Luz Escamilla, are very familiar with inversions and want something to be done to reduce air pollution.
SB0208, sponsored by Escamilla, increases the daily penalty for a violation of the Air Conservation Act from $10,000 to $37,000.
Homeowners who ignore a mandatory ban during red air days can receive a $299 fine each day they violate the ban.
The fines could motivate businesses and individuals to not pollute on red air days, which would, in theory, help the air quality. So how can bad air affect our health?
According to U of U health Center, air quality effects, “Can be causing lung damage, cancer and other serious health problems that they don’t know about.”
How can Salt Lake Community College students help with the bad air quality?
SLCC student Garrett Abel says, “Carpooling could help or taking public transit.” SLCC does have public transportation for students; the B-line intercampus shuttle is free to ride with a OneCard.
Abel adds, “SLCC could start moving over to renewable energy sources.”
SLCC offers an associate degree in Energy Management. SLCC is one of the few institutions with an energy management program, complete with a training yard where students get hands-on experience before they go out into the workforce.
The students of SLCC have a chance to shape the future of the clean energy movement and that means cleaner air in the long run. But if students want to improve air quality without getting a degree, there are other ways to help.
Regular maintenance improves a vehicle’s performance; SLCC students and staff can have some maintenance performed by automotive students at Miller Campus.
Avoid idling when possible; newer cars don’t have to warm up. Also, try not to burn on red air days to avoid a fine.
Utahns can do their part to preserve their health and their future; because if not, we will all have to face the consequences.