Jessica Crowder - Editor In Chief
Winter brings to Utah the greatest snow but it also drags along the inversion. Inversion is what happens when a layer of cold air gets trapped under a layer of warm air. The warm layer of air traps all the bad pollutants in. The inversion is clear to see in Utah with its tall mountains trapping it above the valley. When the inversion is bad you can drive up the canyons of Utah and look over areas like Salt Lake and Utah County you can see a cloud dark enough to block out the city lights.
But why? Utah’s mountains create a bowl like shape which makes it the perfect place for the inversion to sit. The only way for the inversion to go away is for a cold winter storm to bring in rain or snow to break that warm air layer. Over the years Utah’s air quality is getting better but it is coming along very slowly.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has levels that all every county must meet. The level is PM2.5. PM stands for particulate matter, which is basically the amount of bad particles in the air that are small enough to breath in. When a city doesn't meet this level it causes health concern for residents of that area.
UCAIR is a statewide partnership in Utah created with the purpose of getting Utah to have better air quality. UCAIR wants to educate people with little ways to make changes in your daily life to help the air. They also partner with organizations that care about the air quality of Utah,
Air quality should be everyone’s concern.When the air quality is bad it can be hard to breath, and it is especially a health concern for people who already have issues breathing on their own. Lucky this year Utah is having small, but consistent snow storms that should keep the inversion gone till about February. If Utah is going to eventually have better air for good there are things that every person can do.
A hard but simple thing you can do is drive less. Try to finish all your tasks out in one trip instead of going back and forth from home. You can also carpool. Carpooling puts less cars out on the roads which puts less emissions into the air. If you know someone with an electric car try to ride with them often, electric cars have had a big impact on the quality of the air as electric cars are becoming more popular in Utah.
Try burning less wood. Wood emits smoke into the air. Convince your parents to get a fireplace that burns natural gas instead of wood. Putting less smoke into the air is a very small thing that doesn’t seem like it would help but when more and more people start to help the air quality of Utah will get better.