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Air Quality Along the Wasatch Valley
Wasatch Front has a serious winter environmental issue called Inversion. We live in a valley with mountains all around, just like living in a bowl. Cool air above,and warm air below. In the winter months, normal atmospheric conditions become inverted. A trapped dense layer of cold air, under a layer of warm air. The warm air acts like a lid’ trapping pollution on the valley floor.
When it snows, the valley floor reflects the sun rather than warming the floor causing the inversion. The longer the inversion lasts the problems worsen.
Typically in the valley we get fog and freezing rain, along with than fine particulate pollution (PM.2.5). PM 2.5 enters the atmosphere as soot from roads or tailpipe emission.
This image answers the question “What is PM2.5”? PM stands for Particulate Matter. According to the web site for the Breath Utah Organization they say that,”Particulate matter is the term used for a mixture of solid particles and liquid droplets found in the air. PM pollution is made up of soot(from diesel and coal burning), dust, and vehicle emissions” .These fine particulates can pass through the nose and throat, lodging deep in the lungs and pass across to the heart. Young children and the elderly have the highest risk..
Animals are at risk too: Dr. Scott W. Leiter,veterinarian at the Country View Animal in American Fork, says, “The inversion, I think over time, can definitely affect their lungs and everything else.” Cats and small dogs have a higher risk of allergies, even asthma. Larger dogs, huskies, malamutes, American eskimo dogs--are bred for the cold..
Air Pollution has been a problem along the Wasatch Front since the 1870’s. At the turn of the century, there were more than 32 different smelters in the valley. The Murray smoke stack, where the largest in the valley,from 1869 to 1949. At one time the Murray smoke stacks were the biggest lead smelter in the world. It processed from hundred to thousands of tone of ore per day.
The smelter was a big boost to the local economy,but the farmers complained that the pollution from the smelter was ruining their crops.
According to this article written by Ryan D. Curtis “A history of the Inversion: A foe That Grows Strong,” He states, “ In 1906, more than 400 farmers filed suit against the American Smelting and Refining Company, (the owner of the Murray smoke stacks), and four other companies . In November of that years, U.S.Federal District Judge John A. Marshall ruled in favor of the farmers.” As a result of the law suit many smelters closed or relocated. The Murray smoke stacks tired to reduce pollution by building their stacks higher. By 1918, the smoke stacks reached 455 feet.
The air quality in the valley continued to worsen. This Time the burning of coal was a major factor. In the 1920’s with the population in Salt Lake City exploding. The University of Utah and the U.S Bureau of Mines, partnered with Salt Lake City and conducted the first air pollution survey. In 1921 the city adopted an ordinance to help air pollution..
In 1967 the first air pollution law was passed, called “The Air Conservation Act.” The Air Conservation Council was comprised of nine members. They were all giving different duties to come up with ideas to help the air quality, but after several years the air quality over the Wasatch Front was still bad. And now especially in the winter when the inversion hits the air quality seems to get worse.
On February 12, 2016, Fox 13 New reports,”It’s the worst inversion I’ve seen in the middle of February,” says, Erik Grossman of the Department of Atmospheric Science, at the University of Utah.” Grossman has been studying Utah inversion for the last 10 years. He says that the worst part of the inversion is the effect it has on the people that live here.
Many non-profit organization have jumped in and are trying to help fight the make are quality of air better to breath. One such group is called “Breath Utah.” It is made up of a group of professionals with experience in the scientific and medical field, and citizens from communities along the Wasatch Front. They all work together finding solutions to the Air Quality in Utah.
Their web site,(www.breathutah.org) is full of all kinds of great information. Their organization even has programs in the school from Pre-K up to 12th grade. Since 2010
They have taught over 7,000 children. They teach students about air pollution and where it comes from how it affects our bodies and what we can do about it.
This web site is set up that a person can go on it and find from education about air quality to how a person can help with fix Utah's Air Quality.
Not only is it up to organizations to help with are air quality but the individual needs to decide what they can do to help
Fox13now.com,”Inversion conditions in Utah worse than ever;area hospitals see
in patients”,February 12,2116,by Robert Boyd.
www,utahbusiness.com. Non Giving Guide 2015
http://www.ci.slc.ut.us/winterwww.ci.slc.ut.us/winter. “Winter Inversions: What Are They and What We Can All
Do To Help
Air Quality in The Wasatch Front
I am glad that this is the topic that I decided to do my Signature piece on. I have lived in Utah most of my life , from 1959-1976 I live in Price, Utah. I don’t think we had bad air quality their, even though Carbon county had several Coal mine, they did run a natural gas line to Price and they encouraged people in Carbon County to convert to Gas as coal was the major heating fuel.
When we moved to Taylorsville,in my early twenty’s I didn’t care about the Air Quality in the Valley. It took until I had a family and moved out to Magna that I even noticed the bad air. I had a job in Taylorsville and had to take the bus to work every day and was in the air year around. I had a hard time with winter time allergies. Now I realize what caused them.
I know have a good grasp on Inversions and PM2.5 and have found though my research ways that I personally can do to help with the Air Quality in Utah.
I don’t have a car so I ride public transportation. More people in the winter need to realize that the major problem in this valley is our vehicles . My eyes have been open to this problem and I will try to help my family by educating them to what I have found out, and see what they can do.
https://www.weebly.com/Weebly Website Builder: Create a Free Website, Store or Blogor relocated. The Murray smoke stacks tired to reduce pollution by building their stacks higher. By 1918, the smoke stacks reached 455 feet.
Many non-profit organization have jumped in and are trying to help fight the make are quality of air better to breath. One such group is called “Breath Utah.” It is made up of a group of pr