Wasatch Environmental Update for April 23, 2017
By John Worlock, Member of the Board of Directors of Save Our Canyons
“State of the Air 2017”
The American Lung Association has just released its new report called “State of the Air 2017.” From its many pages there are many facts to be gleaned, and many lessons to be learned.
We’ll start with some facts. To no one’s surprise the population on the Wasatch Front is subjected, periodically, to unhealthy air. All of its counties scored failing grades on both ozone and fine particle pollution for the past three years. Salt Lake City, in fact, suffered more unhealthy days than it did last year. It now ranks 7th and 20th, following lists of California cities, in the ranks of the most polluted, for particles and ozone respectively. We won’t go on, but you will find plenty of statistical data, covering all the cities and counties of the nation.
The report describes the sources of the pollution, all of which come from fuels burned or unburned, converted to dangerous materials by interaction with sunlight. The report tells us of the medical consequences of breathing the pollutants into our lungs, all of which are unfortunate and some deadly. We are told who are the most susceptible populations, from infants to asthmatics to the elderly. But no one in the population is exempted from the effects of the pollution. The Lung Association does not try to estimate the yearly medical costs of the pollution, but we know it is enormous.
The standards against which air quality measurements are compared are provided by the Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA. We are grateful to the EPA for their work in providing the standards, and we urge you to suggest to your congressperson that the EPA deserves continued full funding.
State and local authorities in Utah are clearly having a hard time complying with the national standards. They too, need our support and our pressure in the campaign for clean air. To help bring pressure for clean air, consider joining the campaign of www.breatheutah.org or that of http://www.healutah.org
It seems elemental that clean air is one of the first responsibilities of a government. It is also elemental that a good government is one of the responsibilities of its citizens.
That’s where you come in.