Salt Lake City faces significant air quality challenges in both the summer and winter. In the winter, the Wasatch Front’s unique geography leads to periodic temperature inversions which trap cold air underneath a layer of warm air. This acts like a “lid” on the Salt Lake Valley—causing particulate pollution to double every day. In the summer, pollution from cars, industry, and a multitude of chemical products, combined with high temperatures and bright sunshine, lead to harmful ozone levels.
The wintertime pollution comes from: the Transportation sector (42%); Area Sources (29%); Nonroad equipment (11%); and Industry (17%). (Per the State Department of Air Quality, 2019).
Due to forthcoming EPA regulations on cleaner cars and gasoline, the transportation sector’s contribution to our emissions will decrease. Our homes, buildings, and small businesses (Area Sources) will then become the major source of air pollution in the coming years.
This means that we all have a role to play in clearing the air.
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