Wasatch Environmental Update for May 05, 2013
By John Worlock, Member, SOC Board of Directors
“State of the Air”
As we emerge from chilly April into balmy May, and the springtime air is clean and clear and healthy, we are happy to forget those ugly days in January when the air turned foul and poisonous with the tiny particulates called pm2.5. And we don’t want to imagine the oncoming summertime inversions when the poison will change to ozone.
But the American Lung Association doesn’t want us to be forgetful. They released their 14th annual State of the Air Report two weeks ago, reviewing nationwide statistical data from the years 2009 through 2011. Salt Lake City is singled out in the introduction as suffering from spikes of wintertime pollution. No kidding! And Wasatch Front Counties got a lot of failing grades in the detailed analysis.
So, what are we doing, here on the Wasatch Front? This is where the population of Utah is concentrated and, of course, this is where the pollution is concentrated.
The legislature is out of action until next winter, and anyhow they did little or nothing in the latest session, during some of the worst days of the winter inversion.
But the Governor is not on vacation. Last week he went across the street from the Capitol and mounted a press conference in a neighbor’s front yard, proclaiming May as Clean Air Month. He had several suggestions for cleaning our air. Recognizing that volatile organic compounds, like gasoline, are contributory, he wants us to replace our old gas cans with modern ones that are leak-proof. He wants us to replace our old two-cycle lawnmowers and snowblowers with, respectively, four-cycle lawnmowers and snow shovels. Then he noted that state leaders are negotiating with businesses and smokestack industries, for voluntary reductions in air pollution.
We remind the governor that his Department of Environmental Quality knows that over half of our local pollution comes from vehicular traffic, and that bad-air alerts have not caused us to volunteer to stay home, walk, bike or ride transit. He knows, also, that bad air affects the economy. It affects our health, too, Governor, and yours as well.
Let’s get some solutions with teeth soon, or we’re all off for the clean air of Bismarck or Fort Myers! Then, won’t you be sorry!