If you’ve live in or have visited Utah (most specifically the Wasatch Front) in our coldest winter months you may have noticed something. The INVERSION. It’s a not-so-lovely sheet of pollution that blankets some of our most populated cities. The air being colder in the valley (you may have noticed we are surrounded by mountains) than it is above the mountains above creates the inversion. It’s like an epic battle between temperatures and the smoggy pollution gets trapped in the middle.
It looks awful doesn’t it? It can cause issues for people with breathing problems… It can actually contribute to breathing problems. Allergies, bronchitis, asthma, and a list of other ailments can be affected by the inversion. This year has been particularly bad. Especially in my household. My normally healthy kids (I’m talking 1 sick day per year kind of healthy) both have been riddled with sinus issues, coughs, and colds. It’s been miserable. So naturally, when I was asked to participate in a conversation about Utah’s air quality with Kennecott, I jumped at the chance. Because really… Something’s gotta give.
You’ve probably heard of Kennecott… And if you are like me you know them for:
- Driving herds of field mice into my neighborhood when Daybreak was first being developed.
- Oh… And Copper.
So you are probably wondering why a company like Kennecott wants to spread the word about air quality? I’ll be honest, I was a little curious too. I had questions about their contribution to the poor air quality. Because really… That’s what was on my mind. (I know some people have issues with mining and refining of minerals and their effect on the land. But I am a loud and proud Ziploc and bleach user… I’ll just tackle the air quality first before I move on to “greener” pastures.)
I had heard so many different numbers about how much pollution Kennecott actually produces each year from it’s operations. I was surprised to learn that their PM2.5 + precursors (not to get too technical but that is the crappy pollution type stuff… If you want an actually technical explanation on particulate matter… Here you go. )= 5.8% annually… And during the winter they average 3.8%. Not too mention they are constantly coming up with innovations to reduce their emissions. They even go above and beyond in a lot of cases. So that leaves about 94% of the nasty stuff left in our air. Where exactly does that excess 90 some percent come from? Well a good chunk of it comes from US… You know the people who live along the Wasatch front. Makes you feel a little squirmy huh? So now that I have you all queasy about how much you are polluting our air and stuff… Let’s talk about what we can do.
- Carpool… Going to lunch with a friend? Why not pick them up on the way?
- Public Transportation… Taking TRAX is actually the BEST way to get downtown. Parking is a nightmare.
- Drive less… Get all your shopping done in one trip instead of eleventybillion.
- Car maintenance… Not only will it keep your car running longer it helps keep the air clean.
- Use a shovel… Or even better have you kids use the shovel. Keep the snow blower off.
- Maintain your furnace… I mean who would ever go like a year without changing their filter??? (cough cough cough… oopsie)
- Get more tips on the Utah Clean Air website.
In the end we can get rid of industry… Lose all the pretty copper and precious metals and oil and gas and all the things that make life awesome. And we would still have pollution and an inversion. So it starts with us… The PEOPLE of UTAH. Let’s get this clean air party started. And of course we will all carpool, walk, or ride our unicorns to the party. Just a side note… Unicorn glitter is a non-pollutant.
***I was compensated for my time… But all thoughts, feelings, and opinions are my own. Trust me. Unicorns HATE liars.