Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Utah's Environment

I took this picture while driving down from skiing over the weekend, and the air has only gotten worse since.

We breath this. It drives me crazy that our kids are breathing this. The air here is on the substantial move side of our reasons to move list.

Utah actually has the worst air in the nation, and it is, by all the research I've seen, killing people. Maybe we all should take up smoking; at least those pollutants would be filtered.

Some Utah lawmakers this session will try to make sure children can't see alcohol bottles at Chilies, or gay homemakers can't get health insurance, but what about this air? (as I get off my high horse and ready for my commute ;-)).

15 comments:

Kengo Biddles said...

Seriously. We should start a lobby among all Utahns to give us stricter emissions laws than California or something, or mandate only Priuses or something...I feel like I've been breathing sulfuric acid lately because of the HORRIBLE inversion...and remember, I've lived in a red zone for at least a week or two more than you, Scot.

Yeesh.

Evan said...

I knew Utah had air problems, but I didn't realize things were that severe! I'm guessing it is something to do with the mountains.

Gross.

Evan said...

Oh, and that Chili's article is going on facebook. I like making fun of my utard friends every chance I get ;)

Beck said...

What smog? I see nothing but sunshine streaming through my window! :)

kevin said...

Scot,

I wrote a paper on the problems here in Utah County (we fall shortly behind Salt Lake and Logan on the national list). One problem that is fixable is BYU's parking policy. Parking permits used to cost 70 bucks for students, while UTA bus passes were free. However, that has been reversed: Student parking permits are now free, while year passes for UTA are 180 bucks.

While I took the 180 bucks and bought a bicycle, which will last me a few years of commuting to school and work, most students drive themselves to school in their own cars every morning, which with a population of over 30,000 students, it starts to make a huge difference on a daily basis.

Last Friday, I went up to the base of the Y trail, and I could hardly see Mt. Nebo, our tallest mountain, or Mt. Timpanogos, which isn't as tall but is more prominent, through all the smog.

angryyoungwoman said...

I was visiting my sister in Utah last weekend and felt sick the whole time--the air was so bad. And the smell! I always notice when I go to Utah just how bad the air smells.

Scot said...

(glad I came out on facebook ;-))

Kengo: "We should start a lobby among all Utahns to give us stricter emissions laws than California or something, or mandate only Priuses or something..."

Call your rep, Kengo. They'll listen... and likely ignore you :-), but they may not. You're right, though; this really is serious. It is literally killing people for no good reason.

Remember though, if we all had Priuses, we'd have to worry about the smug. Eh, with the air this bad I still feel guilty for driving mine.

Evan: "I'm guessing it is something to do with the mountains. "

Exactly. We get horrible inversions that cap our pollution in our valleys like we were in tupperware.

"I like making fun of my utard friends every chance I get ;)"

Just spend some time on our capitol hill. Just yesterday I heard one legislator advocated an end to all drug rehab programs because "it's a moral issue".

Beck: "What smog? I see nothing but sunshine streaming through my window! :)"

Rub it in, huh? Here, you're lucky to see the trees across the street, or the birds with black lung falling from them.

Kevin: "However, that has been reversed: Student parking permits are now free, while year passes for UTA are 180 bucks."

LOL, typical politics here. Public transportation is a communist plot.

But, man, don't exert yourself too much in this soup. I'd like to see you stay around.

A.Y.W."I was visiting my sister in Utah last weekend and felt sick the whole time--the air was so bad."

I know exactly what you mean. Unfortunately, it also gives Rob terrible migraines. Bad stuff.

Guy said...

Thanks, you've again reminded me of some of the reasons I left Utah for San Francisco (where we've had our usual clear skies and even perfect "shorts and t-shirt" weather now for about 2 weeks--in January): the horrible inversions, the state legislature (and their "moral issues") and even the idiotic policies of BYU. Maybe you owe it to Rob and his migraines to move! ;)

Kengo Biddles said...

I tried to vote my local Republican Stooge out. It didn't work.

And Kevin hit it right on the head...but don't forget UVU in the mix, too...We've got a transient population of at least 60k, all driving into and out of UVU/BYU, every day.

RE.TAR.DED.

Alan said...

During our last visit to SLC we drove round point of the mountain and I gasped. Out loud. Then said "OMG, we're going to be breathing THAT." Good grief. I am still shaking my head wondering how we or anybody else survived that Smog Soup. Get outta there Scot before you and yours get emphysema.

Scott said...

<epiphany>Unfortunately, it also gives Rob terrible migraines.</epiphany>

Here I've been thinking I need to up my dose of Topamax(*) when I really probably just need to start wearing a painter's mask or something...

(*) Daily medication for chronic migraine. It reduced my crippling migraines from an average of three per week to one or two per month. It also made my sense of taste go wonky so that I can't drink carbonated beverages with artificial sweeteners anymore (shudder) and so that I can barely tolerate the ones with high-fructose corn syrup, but the imported-from-Mexico cane-sugar-sweetened Coke I buy tastes just fine, so it's all good.

October Rising said...

i'm so glad i don't have to breathe that now that i'm done with byu! it's nice to be back in WA where the air is always moist, fragrant, and clean...not that i'm bragging...

TRiG said...

Here's a relevant discussion from BBC News: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7839336.stm.

TRiG.

TRiG said...

Sorry. Let's make that a proper link. The BBC report that a US study carried out between Brigham Young University and Harvard School of Public Health shows that cleaner air adds months to life.

TRiG.

Scot said...

Okay, people not breathing this junk don't get to brag anymore :-). I'm looking at you Guy, Beck and October.

Alan: "Get outta there Scot before you and yours get emphysema."

We're working on it. Too bad our decision came with the bad economy.

TRiG "The BBC report that a US study carried out between Brigham Young University and Harvard School of Public Health shows that cleaner air adds months to life."

I'm sure we'd all love some extra months, but I don't think anything will be done about it here (at least it has BYU's stamp on it :-)).

Scott "Here I've been thinking I need to up my dose of Topamax(*) when I really probably just need to start wearing a painter's mask or something..."

Yeah, pay attention to the timing. Rob is a pretty accurate small particle detector with his sensitivity to it.