February 7, 2013

Salt Lake Smog

The air quality is so bad that residents are be advised to avoid the outdoors this week.

Julian: Salt Lake City, Utah, known for its clear skies and white-capped mountains is now choking on a heavy blanket of smog. The EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, says this month the city has the worst air quality in the country.

Ellie Brownstein: If you can see it, you probably don’t want to be breathing it. We’ve had a long string of this. It doesn’t really give our lungs a chance to heal and do well.

Julian: Car exhaust and industrial emissions create the toxic smog. The EPA limit for clean air is 35 micrograms of pollution per cubic meter. Salt Lake City hit 130 micrograms this past week.

The biggest problem for Salt Lake City is something called temperate inversion. That is when the Salt Lake City valley is colder than the mountain regions above it. Now, this warm air acts as a lid, trapping the cold air and pollution above the city.

More than 100 Utah doctors are calling on state leaders to declare a public health emergency. They want to lower highway speed limits to 55 and shut down businesses that cause industrial pollution.

The Utah governor’s office issued a statement saying, ‘while the current air quality does not meet legal criteria to declare an official public health emergency, we should all be actively doing our part to minimize emissions.’

For now, doctors are telling people not to spend a lot of time outdoors and to avoid heavy exercise. And officials are asking residents to limit their driving and restrict the use of wood- and coal-burning stoves.

Julian Dujarric, Channel One News.


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