Each of us can do small things to help improve our air quality during inversion season
As you may know, the Salt Lake Valley has one of the worst air quality ratings in the nation. According to the American Lung Association, the Salt Lake-Provo-Orem Metropolitan area is top 20 for high ozone days and 8th worst for 24 hour particle pollution. And while the air quality in the state is getting slightly better, much more must be done to clean up our air.
We can all be a part of the solution for improved air quality! Yesterday we wrote about the #WeekWithoutACar Challenge. Here are more big ideas for little things you can do to help improve air quality in Utah!
WHAT YOU CAN DO
- Convert or replace your wood burning stove or fireplace. A wood stove over its life cycle emits up to 150 tons of dangerous PM2.5 pollutants. It’s crucial that these polluting stoves get replaced as they are most commonly used during winter when our air quality is at its worst. A top priority at the DEQ is converting of wood burning stoves and fireplaces to cleaner alternatives through a targeted air shed grant from the EPA. This program allows for a $3,800 rebate to help assist with the conversion or exchange of wood burning stoves to either natural gas or propane for low income families. For non-low income families the rebate is $2,800. The program is currently available in Cache County, though you can add your name to the wait list in 5 other counties where funding has already been claimed. Replace or convert your wood stove with a cleaner alternative through the program by registering at stoves.utah.gov, or speak with your local heating professional about options for your home.
- Limit cold starts in your car in the winter and don’t let it idle – Did you know that it is much cleaner for you to start your car and go rather than letting it idle and warm up? You can also reduce your vehicle emissions significantly by linking trips to reduce your number of “cold starts” in the winter. Or take public transportation whenever possible. Learn more about cold starts and idling at UCAIR.org.
- Change out your snow blower. A gas powered snow blower can emit enough pollutants equal to a car trip from Los Angeles to Miami in one winter season. The Utah Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) recommends exchanging gas powered snow blowers with zero-emission, battery operated models.
- Spread the word about these important tips to help reduce air pollution this winter!