The Hinckley Institute Radio Hour — This week on the program, a panel of experts offers insights and ideas on how we can all work to improve air quality in Utah through activism, engagement, mobilization and accountability. They also discuss why air quality is essential to environmental sustainability and public health—as bad air contributes to increased rates of respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, stroke, cancer, autoimmune disorders, and overall shorter life spans.
An analysis of air quality released in January examined 2018 air-quality data and found that Salt Lake City has some of the worst air quality in the nation, coming in at number 7 among large metro areas. This puts Salt Lake City in line with cities like Las Vegas and Sacramento, with our worst air quality days concentrated in the summer and winter.
In her first State of the City address earlier this week, Salt Lake City Mayor Erin Mendenhall addressed concerns over air quality and laid out her plan to implement new sustainable building codes, push environmental improvements to the Inland Port and remove carbon from the atmosphere by preserving natural areas and planting thousands of new trees, especially on the city’s west side.
Today’s panel highlights these local efforts to improve air quality, as well as how individuals can get involved directly. On the panel is Logan E. Mitchell, Ph.D. and research assistant professor in the Department of Atmospheric Sciences at the University of Utah; Scott Williams, Executive Director of HEAL Utah; and Jonny Vasic, Executive Director for Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment. Moderating the discussion is Piper Christian, student ambassador from the U’s Sustainability Office.
This forum was recorded on February 11, 2020.
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