This past month, Salt Lake City officially won the top spot on the heavily competitive list for worst air quality in the United States. Admittedly, this honor is more of a concession than a victory lap. All around, most of Utah’s population centers have horrific air quality, which seems to reach critically dangerous levels, every single year.
Continued trend, year after year
The sad thing about this trend is that it seems to happen every year, with little to change the results. This year, when the inversion builds up, our air quality reaches nearly 60 PM2.5 (a measurement for air pollution). To put this in perspective, the level that is considered acceptable by the Environmental Protection Agency is 35. Admittedly, the geography of Salt Lake City and other parts of Utah works against us, when it comes to air quality. Our valleys provide a perfect bowl that causes the air to become trapped, which means that all air pollution sits in a little pot of smog.
What we all can do
Even though there are geological factors to our poor air quality, this doesn’t mean that we have to be resigned to this current situation. Indeed, as a state, it should mean that we work twice as hard. UDOT recommends carpooling during these colder months, and also driving only when it is really necessary. The truth is that if we wait for a legislative solution for this problem, we’ll be waiting decades, all the while allowing this inversion to take a toll on our public health (increasing the rates of asthma, heart disease, strokes).
When it comes to traffic on the road, one of the most effective ways to reduce your vehicle’s emissions is to have a functional catalytic converter, which controls emissions released by your vehicle through oxidation. Master Muffler is currently the number one installer of catalytic converters in the state. This is a fact that we take great pride in, as we want to do our part to ensure that our state is a healthy place for our children to grow up. To accomplish this goal, we all have to work together.