Cache Valley’s air quality has been a hot topic this week, with in-depth discussions taking place both at Utah State University and at Logan City Hall. While the presenting organizations have been varied, their message is the same—air pollution is a serious threat to public health that must be addressed.
With more than 60% of Utahns living in areas susceptible to air pollution—especially in Cache County and along the Wasatch Front—efforts are underway statewide to urge lawmakers to take immediate, bold action. Tomorrow at 1:00 p.m., a rally will be held on the south steps of the Utah State Capitol to reinforce this growing “Clean Air, No Excuses” battle cry.
The event, said Cherise Udell, founder of Utah Moms for Clean Air, is being hailed as an opportunity to “apply political pressure to legislators that want to keep their heads in the smog, while also offering support to those awesome legislators willing to uphold their civic oath to protect the families of Utah.”
“Our health and our children’s future is under serious threat by our poor air quality,” echoed Denny Cawley, executive director of Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment (UPHE) in a public statement. “Air pollution affects our children’s brain development and can cause pregnancy complications, acute respiratory symptoms, heart attack, stroke and even death. We need leaders who will truly speak and act in the best interests of the community.”
In its 2017 “Clean Air Blueprint,” UPHE proposed 19 actions that could be taken to address Utah’s mounting air quality concerns. These include developing a strong, serious state implementation plan, mandating statewide emissions testing, banning polluting lawn equipment and requiring daily monitoring of big polluters.
“One thing we always want to point out at Utah Physicians is that there’s no safe level of air pollution,” said Beth Haynes, UPHE’s outreach director, “and even short-term pollution matters in terms of inversions. If you’re a person that’s outdoors, you’re breathing this in at different rates, and it can be very damaging.”
Saturday’s Clean Air Rally is being sponsored in partnership with a lengthy list of clean air advocates including <a href=”http://uphe.org/”>UPHE</a>, <a href=”http://www.healutah.org/”>HEAL Utah</a>, <a href=”http://www.utahmomsforcleanair.org/”>Utah Moms for Clean Air</a>, the <a href=”http://www.mesastewardship.org/”>Mormon Environmental Stewardship Alliance (MESA)</a>, the <a href=”http://utahrivers.org/”>Utah Rivers Council</a>, <a href=”https://www.breatheutah.org/”>Breathe Utah</a> and the <a href=”https://www.breatheutah.org/”>Utah Sierra Club</a>. The rally will feature an assortment of speakers and will provide attendees with opportunities to learn more about how they can become personally involved in Utah’s fight for clean air.
“We would encourage the public to show up to have your voice heard with your concerns about the health impacts of the air pollution that we deal with,” said Haynes. “Cache Valley is highly susceptible because of its geography and the inversions that occur. For future generations, for adults, for the elderly, the air that we’re breathing during inversions is very dangerous, so we encourage people to come out to become aware of what those risks are and how you can get involved to make a difference.”
More information about the 2017 “Clean Air, No Excuses” rally is available at <a href=”http://www.healutah.org/”>www.healutah.org</a>.