SALT LAKE CITY — Utah's blue skies in the wintertime can mean an unhealthy inversion is settling back over the state, but Utah Clean Air Partnership says there are small steps that can be taken to reduce the harm from bad air.
Their slogan—live to breathe—is to remind the public that everyone is in this together and can make a difference for each other.
UCAIR is reminding the public to reduce or condense car travel, as vehicle emissions are a major contributor to the inversions.
Replacing wood-burning stoves and fireplaces with natural gas versions will also help reduce nitrogen oxides emissions that harm the ozone layer and are a major source of particle pollution.
But the most important thing people can do is to stop idling their vehicles.
"If every single person could turn off their car when they are in that line or when they are picking up their kids from school, it would have such a huge impact. And it’s an easy action to take, it doesn’t change any behaviors other than really, just turning our car on and off, it’s that simple,” says Kim Frost, UCAIR's Executive Director.
Although inversions are most apparent in the winter, bad air quality in the summertime will impact how Utahns' ability to enjoy outdoor recreation.
“Utah is best experienced when we can see the landscapes, when we can play outside, when we can breathe clean air, and it’s up to all of us to make that happen,” said Jake Miller, Executive Director of the Utah Golf Association.
Teachers also recognize the need for healthy air so that students can enjoy outdoor recess and recharge their batteries during the school day.
“I really believe that clean air is so important to the physical, emotional and mental well-being of our children,” said Rose Kjesbo, a teacher at Indian Hills Middle School. "And I think that students and teachers ... come back to class refocused and ready for more rigorous learning after outdoor recess."
For more information about how to reduce bad air days in Utah, go to UCAIR's website.