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Utah's Air Pollution

Air pollution is a relatively recent issue that still has people opposed to it. Despite the numerous
amount of studies out there that indicate it is a problem that has been on the rise, and will only continue
to pose a deeper threat until we act against it. Not only is this issue relative to the people of Utah, who
experience more air pollution than other states due to its geography, but it is an issue that concerns the
entire world's population because all of our lives and future generations' lives are at risk. To better
understand the issue of air pollution it is important to know why it is an issue and what effect it is
having on the environment. It is also important to realize the fault of those who do not believe in it, and
attempt to debunk their view. Lastly and most critically, it is important to know what can be done to
save our planet from this serious issue that could potentially endanger our planet, as well as the entire
human species.
So how does air pollution affect the environment as well as the human body? First of all
pollution has a large impact on the environment. As a result of factories, power plants, and vehicles
toxic chemicals are put into the air in mass amounts every single day, all over the world. This huge
increase in new chemicals being introduced into the atmosphere creates changes that have a negative
effect on many areas of the environment. One consequence is acid rain, where toxins are released
upward into the sky and eventually bind with the evaporated water found in clouds. This results in our

rain containing a certain amount of toxicity that has made a significant contribution to the destruction
of plant life, like agricultural crops and wildlife. It has also contributed to the pollution of lakes which
is hazardous not only to the aquatic life, but to any person who unknowingly goes to take a swim. One
lake located in Russia, said to be the most polluted lake in the world as result of a nuclear power plant,
is said to cause severe radiation damage or death to anyone who even stands on the shore ("Meet the
lake").
The pollution of water is just one consequence of air pollution. Another concern, one that is
more directly impacting on human life, is how air pollution affects the human body. Certain materials
made airborne as a result of the activity I mentioned above can have a series of effects on human life
ranging from mild throat or nose irritation to the contribution or even causation of cancer. These
materials can also affect an unborn baby who's mother is exposed to. ("Why Should You Be
Concerned") One of the biggest areas of concern in this issue is that we are all exposed to this every
single day. People with respiratory conditions such as asthma are admitted to the hospital on a daily
basis as a direct result of air pollution. Having suffered from asthma all my life, this issue is more
personal to me than to most people because I have felt the effects of it. There have been some days
where the air in Utah has been so bad that even stepping outside has triggered my asthma to act up.
The last air pollution related issue that I will mention is its contribution to global warming. The
chemicals released into the air, especially carbon dioxide, will eventually travel upwards and
accumulate in the ozone layer. This essentially reinforces the greenhouse effect, and by doing this, less
heat radiation from the sun is able to escape via its normal route back into space. Instead, it is held
within our planet's atmosphere, causing a gradual increase in temperature. Despite virtually the entire
scientific community's unanimous view that global warming is real and that humans play a critical part
in its existence, there are still many people who deny that there is a such thing. In fact almost every
2016 Republican presidential candidate either opposes the facts of global warming, or does not treat it
with the amount of seriousness that it deserves. Jeb Bush, a Republican candidate said, The climate is
changing, but I don't think the science is clear on what percentage is man-made and...what percentage
is natural. It's convoluted. And for the people to say the science is decided on this is just really
arrogant. ("Where the 2016 Republican"). All other Republicans candidates with the exception of
Lindsay Graham, who admits that the science is there to tell us who is causing global warming, say
basically the same thing as Jeb Bush. I find it both shocking and some what fascinating that almost an
entire group of candidates, one of which who could potentially represent the entire country, are
opposed to what science is telling us.
Before I move onto the other points of this paper I would like to point out some local issues

presented by air pollution that can be seen here in Utah. Because of the contrast between Utah's
mountainous regions and its adjacent flat plains region, especially along the Wasatch Front, a sort of
bubble is created that traps air pollution (Heather). Local studies have been conducted in order to
determine how much air pollution Utah faces, and what percentage of that contributes to the health of
Utah's citizens; they have found that a good portion does contribute to respiratory diseases and even
deaths among Utah citizens.
With the goal of combating Utah's air pollution out sprung the organization UCAIR. This
organization specifically targets other corporate organizations and offers incentive grants to those who
cut down on carbon emissions. This has turned out to be a very effective approach because tied in with
the environmental and health issues that come with air pollution are also many economic issues.
Almost all corporations, as well as our national and local economic development, depend on certain
commodities that when used can have negative side effects on the environment. These aren't things
only used by large corporations or businesses, but by almost anyone living in a modernized community.
These include things like power, electricity, and transportation. Because these things have a significant
effect on the economy as well as the environment, the solution isn't as simple as eliminating all fossil
fuel driven cars or all power plants that put a massive amounts of toxic chemicals into the air. Instead,
there needs to be a gradual transition from the current, harmful factory operations to a plan that does
not affect the environment in a negative way, but one that is based on renewable, sustainable energy
(Brice). UCAIR is an excellent contributor to this concept. By offering compensation to those
corporations who are willing to forfeit certain utilities for a month they have helped make Utah a
cleaner place.
While UCAIR only offers financial incentive on a corporate level, they almost promote and
encourage the participation of every individual who owns a vehicle. Everyone can contribute by
limiting their daily vehicle use by taking some sort of public transportation or walking when possible.
In the brief time that UCAIR has been around they have already helped in stopping millions of ponds
of carbon emissions from being released into the air. While this has had some impact on the
environment it doesn't even come close to the amount of carbon dioxide produced in the entire United
States each year, which comes close to several thousand times that amount ("CO2 Now").
Bernie Sanders, a 2016 democratic presidential candidate as well as member of the Committee
on Environment and Public Works said, We have the moral responsibilities to make sure that the
climate that we leave to our kids and their kids is habitable... (Spear). I believe he was correct in
saying that, and if we want to ensure a future for our generations to come then we will have to solve the
issue of air pollution.

Works Cited

"CO2 Now." Global Carbon Emissions. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.


"Climate Change Threatens Health: Air Pollution." NRDC:. Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
McGill, Natalie. "Utah Partnership Working To Reduce Air Pollution In State." Nation's Health 44.8
(2014): 19. Health Source - Consumer Edition. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
"Meet the Lake so Polluted That Spending an Hour There Would Kill You." Grist. 3 Oct. 2012. Web. 22
Oct. 2015.
Spear, Stefanie Penn. "10 Reasons Bernie Sanders Is 'Rockin' in the Free World'" Common Dreams.
Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
Stewart, Heather. "A Breath Of Fresh Air." Utah Business 26.3 (2012): 38. Regional Business News.
Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
Wallace, Brice. "Group Submits Development, Air Quality Recommendations. (Cover
Story)." Enterprise/Salt Lake City 43.17 (2013): 1. MasterFILE Complete. Web. 21 Oct. 2015.
"Where the 2016 Republican Candidates Stand on Climate Change."CBSNews. CBS Interactive. Web.
22 Oct. 2015.
"Why Should You Be Concerned About Air Pollution?" Why Should You Be Concerned about Air
Pollution? Web. 22 Oct. 2015.
*Photograph taken from Creative Commons/Google Images (Author unknown)