SALT LAKE CITY – Utahns are used to poor air quality this time of year. For the most part, drivers say they try and do something about it.
“I usually ride TRAX every day to work,” says Midvale resident Lupe Lagunas. “I try to not drive as much as I can.”
Salt Lake officials are asking people to look beyond the inversion through things like their idle-free ordinance. The city hopes people will re-think their individual impact on overall air quality.
“Anything we emit into the air we’re stuck with until a storm moves through and cleans the valley out,” says Salt Lake City Special Programs Manager Kate Lohnes. “It comes down to individuals making different behavior changes.”
According to the DEQ, car emissions are responsible for roughly half of the pollution that goes into Utah’s skies. Many drivers think idling is a small thing compared to larger environmental issues. Lohnes agrees, but says individuals need to start somewhere.
Parking enforcement officers haven’t issued any idling citation since enforcement began nine months ago. But the city says it was never about revenue, it was about education.
“Individuals are stepping up,” says Lohnes. “This is a very unifying issue. Everybody cares about it, it affects everyone.”
Salt Lake City provides text updates on air quality. To sign up, just text cleartheair to 69302.
Additional ways to reduce emission can be found on the cities website, www.caretocleartheair.org.