By SLCgreen intern Kelbe Goupil
Air quality, air quality, air quality…will we ever stop talking about it? Until our air is consistently clean and no longer putting our health and economy at risk, probably not.
Talking about air pollution is important to us here at
SLCgreen, not only because of how harmful it is to our health but also because
of how expensive it is.
Let’s face it: bad air is damaging our economy. And not just in Utah. Air pollution in the U.S. costs the nation at least $131 billion in damages annually, including higher healthcare costs. Globally, the cost of pollution-related death, sickness, and welfare is $4.6 trillion per year, which is about 6.2% of the global economy.
Let’s talk about why that is and what can be done about it.
Did you know? One wood fireplace emits the same amount of particulate pollution as 90 SUVs and one wood-burning stove pollutes as much as 3,000 natural gas furnaces.
This week’s Clean Air Champion tip is about wood burning.
Even though burning wood is festive at this time of year, it’s a significant polluter (estimated to contribute 5-26% of total pollution on a winter day, according to a presentation from Dr. Kelly Kerry to UCAIR).
Before you burn, make sure to check to see if it’s a no burn day.
The Salt Lake County Health Department prohibits burning solid fuel in fireplaces or wood burning stoves and bans outdoor fires (including bonfires, patio pits, and charcoal grill fires) on days that the State of Utah designates as either mandatory or voluntary air action (no burn) days.
by Tera Clausen
Have you ever heard the saying, “Behind every great kid is a parent who is sure they are doing something wrong”?
I remember when my twins were born and I became a mom. As many new parents do, I always erred on the side of caution. I wanted them to be safe, healthy and happy. Living in a world that feels so big and scary at times, it can be a daunting task to protect our children. Even if you are not a parent yourself, most people have children in their lives that they care for and want to keep safe. Child safety is a common goal we can all agree on.
It can be overwhelming to think that every little thing could be a danger to your child – whether it’s the safety rating of a car seat or the toxicity levels in everyday household items. Sometimes it is hard to know which dangers merit caution and which ones are due to overactive paranoia.
This is why I was so excited for Salt Lake City to partner with Healthy Babies Bright Futures (HBBF), earlier this year.
HBBF is a non-profit organization whose mission is to work towards a toxic-free future for all children. Read more
SALT LAKE CITY – Today, Salt Lake City Mayor Ralph Becker released a letter signed by more than 50 U.S. mayors from around the country signaling support for President Obama setting the strongest possible clean air protections against smog pollution, also known as ground-level ozone.
“Poor air quality is one of the most significant threats to our quality of life here in Salt Lake City,” said Mayor Becker. “Stronger smog protections will help our families breathe easier and spend more time outdoors, without having to worry about the quality of the air we breathe.”
According to the American Lung Association, inhaling smog pollution is like getting a sunburn on your lungs and often results in immediate breathing trouble. Long term exposure to smog pollution is linked to chronic respiratory diseases like asthma, reproductive and developmental harm, and even premature death. Children, seniors, and people with asthma are especially vulnerable to smog’s health impacts.
Salt Lake City is taking action to reduce its impact on air quality by increasing electric vehicle infrastructure, reducing fleet tailpipe emissions and replacing two-stroke maintenance equipment with more efficient models. Explore all of the actions Salt Lake City is taking to reduce air pollution at www.SLCgreen.com.
The letter was signed by a diverse coalition of local leaders and supports efforts by President Obama and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to stay true to the science and issue protections consistent with the recommendations from leading public health organizations like the American Lung Association, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and American Health Association.
Kate Lilja Lohnes
Salt Lake City, Division of Sustainability
SAVE THE DATE FOR A FREE FAMILY EVENT
Thursday, April 9 from 6-8 p.m. at the Sorenson Unity Center
The Grow West Garden Fest invites the public to learn about health, nutrition, and gardening resources available to westside Salt Lake City neighborhoods. These resources include community gardens, school gardens, workshops, youth activities, and organizations & businesses that support gardening practices. For attendees who participate in event activities, free food will be served by El Ranchero Chido, a local taco cart.
For more information, visit wasatchgardens.org or check out the Facebook event page.
Utah Geek Events, the Big Data User groups and many other groups have joined forces to learn more about the air quality in Utah. For the past two months, technologists, scientists, air quality experts, and experts from related fields have been gathering information and data with correlations to Utah’s air.
Air quality is a complex problem that influences many aspects of our lives, including our health, economy and quality of life. Part of that complexity is understanding the entire puzzle of our air — why is it bad and how does it really affect our lives?
Now that we have the information to start gaining answers, we need the questions. Teams will be breaking off to compete to create amazing results with the latest technologies in Big Data, but we need your help.
We are looking for ideas of what to look for from the public. We are open to all ideas and suggestions regardless of how far-fetched or mundane they may seem. Feel free to share this survey with others.
Take the survey.
The more questions we have, the more we can start to understand our air and help create a brighter future for Utah.
Learn more at BigDataUtah.org.
On Tuesday, February 4, KUED and a variety of community partners will come together for an evening to explore “The Air We Breathe.”
The free community event begins with a preview of “The Air We Breathe,” a locally-produced, 30 minute documentary that examines Utah’s air quality.
Attendees will also hear from Robert Grow, Executive Director of Envision Utah, and have a Q&A with University of Utah Program for Air Quality, Health & Society Director Dr. Robert Paine.
SLCgreen will be there, and we hope you will too!
The Air We Breathe Film Screening & Event
Tuesday, February 4
7:00 – 9:00 p.m.
University of Utah
Huntsman Cancer Institute, Auditorium (6th Floor)
RSVP to the Facebook event