An Analysis of Community Response to Poor Winter Air Quality Episodes in Salt Lake City, Utah from 2000 to 2015
This investigation focuses on poor air quality episodes in Salt Lake City, Utah, as a result of winter temperature inversions in the Salt Lake Valley. The research question, “What strategies does the analysis of community response to poor winter air quality episodes from 2000-2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah offer for the reduction of emissions?” is concerned primarily with the relationship between Salt Lake residents and air quality research, education, and policy. The unique geography of the Salt Lake Valley makes it prone to cold-air pools during the winter that trap emissions in the valley for several days at a time. This leads to the buildup of particulate matter and significant health impacts on Salt Lake residents. Additionally, it led to the designation of Salt Lake as a nonattainment zone for air quality by the United States Environmental Protection Agency. Because of this, the Utah state government must prove that the state is actively improving the air. Several sources were synthesized and analyzed in order to determine which strategies have been effective in the past and what future actions could be taken to improve air quality in Utah. These include surveys conducted by the organization Envision Utah regarding the relationship between quality of life and air quality, personal interviews with University of Utah air quality researchers Kevin Perry and John Lin and air quality educator Deborah Burney-Sigman, a series of air quality research papers and news articles, and specific environmental policies. This analysis illustrates the need for more effective government policies that incorporate air quality education into schools, fund research programs, expand public transit and community involvement, and require more efficient combustion technologies.
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