Mayor's Message: Let’s Clear the AirJan 30, 2015 12:12PM ● By Sandy Mayor Tom Dolan
One has only to look across the hazy Valley to recognize we are in the midst of our winter inversion season. Utahns have grown to expect common inversions frequently during the months of December through February, but it is a significant concern. While it is unsightly, inversions create a health risk for all of us, as well as having negative economic consequences and an overall decrease in our quality of life. While the geography of Utah lends itself to inescapable inversions, there are steps that each of us can and should take to improve the air during these inversion-prone months.
Public agencies, cities, counties and elected officials have all joined together to participate in a united effort to improve air quality this inversion season. One such effort is the Utah Clean Air Partnership that was organized in 2012 by Governor Herbert and leading citizens. Its mission, in part, is to educate the public on voluntary actions they can take to make a difference. With funding received from the legislature, they have recently launched a full-scale awareness campaign to highlight simple, action-oriented changes we can all make.
Motor vehicles are responsible for about 50% of particulate pollution that affects public health. Carpooling or e-traveling, particularly on Red Alert days, can make a huge difference. When you do have to drive, try to combine your errands.
Winter is a critical time to reduce travel along the Wasatch Front and riding public transportation is one way residents can limit the amount of pollution released into the air. Currently, UTA helps eliminate 120,000 vehicle trips per day. It’s a great time for each of us to add to that number.
500 Free Fare Cards will be given away by UTA and Salt Lake County as part of a new initiative to lower vehicle emissions. The UTA FAREPAY cards are preloaded with $10 (which equates to 4 trips on TRAX and buses). These cards will be distributed on a first come, first served basis on Thursday, February 12 from 5-7 pm at The South Towne Center.
Lower Your Thermostat
UCAIR has a fun tool on their website to show the percentage of fewer emissions and the amount you will save by lowering your thermostat. Lowering your thermostat from 78 degrees to 72 degrees reduces emissions by 6% and will result in a 6% savings every month. Imagine the difference if we all made just that one change.
Take some time to visit www.ucair.org to use their other tools that show the definite difference each and every one of us can make. I also invite you to download our Air Aware Tip Sheet to find even more ideas for clearing up our air. The air we breathe is important to all of us and making small lifestyle changes is the best way to show we care!