Recent medical research indicates that air pollution is a more serious public health problem than previously thought. Salt Lake, Provo, and Logan consistently rank in the top ten U.S. cities for worst acute spikes in air pollution. This problem requires immediate action from both industry and the government, but also from every Utah citizen. Below is a list of action that you can implement as a family today. Let’s make every day a clean air day in Utah!

  • Drive the cleanest possible vehicle. Whether you are in the market for a new or used car or truck, or just choosing which of two family vehicles to drive, selecting the cleanest option will reduce your personal contribution to air pollution and the resulting health effects.
  • Carpool your kids to school. Find other parents in your neighborhood who are willing to join in a carpool and reduce the number of cars driving each morning and afternoon; or, even better, walk and bike with your kids to school as a way to reduce pollution and increase fitness.
  • No idling. Turn off your car when you are waiting to pick up your child from school, waiting in a drive-through, or otherwise idling for more than 30 seconds (not while in traffic though!). Idling your car wastes money and pollutes the air. Start Your Own No Idling Campaign.
  • Ride public transit. When planning trips, errands or outings check to see if you can get there by bus or Trax. Public transit is especially good when traveling with children, as they get your full attention — you can read to them, nurse, play games…
  • Report smoking vehicles. If you see a vehicle belching out smoke, report it to the county health board through their smog education and notification program: call 801-944-SMOG and follow the easy instructions.
  • Install a programmable thermostat. These inexpensive gadgets are easy to install and allow you to set the thermostat to cool or heat your house only when you really need it, reducing your major use of energy, and therefore your major contribution to coal burning and its pollution.
  • Eliminate one car trip per day. The average family makes 4-5 roundtrips per day. Eliminate one car trip per day by multitasking or using alternative modes of transportation (like walking, biking or taking mass transit).
  • Drive your newest vehicle. Older vehicles are much more polluting than newer vehicles. For example, a typical 1995 car produces ten times more smog chemical pollution than a typical 2000 car. By saving your older or bigger vehicles for the times when their use is necessary, you will be doing a lot to clean up our air.
  • Drive a car instead of a truck, SUV, van, or minivan.On average, new trucks, SUVs, vans, and minivans produce 50 percent more smog chemical pollution than new cars, while new oversized vehicles produce more than twice the pollution of new cars.
  • Prepare your car for winter driving. A few steps of general maintenance will keep your car running cleaner in the winter.
  • Use compact fluorescent light bulbs. Almost all of Utah’s electricity comes from coal-fired power plants. Using fluorescent light bulbs, which use 1/4 of the energy of conventional light bulbs, will require less coal-fired energy and will save you money.
  • Turn off the lights. Taking simple steps to reduce your electricity consumption, such as turning off lights in rooms where you don’t need them, and keeping the thermostat set for only as cool/warm as necessary, will reduce the amount of coal that is burned on your behalf, and therfore reduce your impact on our air quality.
  • Plant a tree. Trees act as natural air filters, sequester carbon dioxide and cool your house. Consider planting one every year for Mother’s Day.
  • Talk to friends and neighbors about the health effects of pollution. Your friends and neighbors may not know that the pollution from cars and trucks can affect the health of your community. Help educate them by telling them about Utah Moms for Cloean Air or other groups working to improve Utah’s air quality.
  • Ditch your charcoal grill. When the weather warms and we head outside to grill, consider exchanging your dirty charcoal-burning grill for a cleaner natural gas or propane version. If you can’t let go of your charcoal, avoid using lighter fluid — find an alternative such as an electric starter of newspaper chimney.
  • Avoid gas-powered mowers. Invest in an electric mower, edgers, blower, or trimmer and jettison the polluting gas-powered versions as you begin your yard work this spring. Or even better yet, go back to the old-fashioned method of using a hand-powered mower and a rake! You will also be reducing noise pollution, which your neighbors will thank you for.
  • Don’t burn wood on Red and Yellow Alert Days. Burning solid fuel contributes to the particulate matter that makes up much of winter air pollution. Burn cleaner when you do burn. Wood burning is prohibited on Red Air Quality days, and it is requested that you not burn on Yellow Air Quality Days. Remember, you can report wood burning violations on Red Air Quality days.
  • Write a letter. Writing letters to the editor of newspapers is one of the most effective ways to bring attention to an issue. Also, write to or call your elected officials, including the Governor, your state Senator and Representative, the Utah Division of Air Quality, and Air Quality Board. When writing a letter, be specific and to the point, and always be respectful.
  • Sign up for Blue Sky Renewable Wind Power Energy. Support pollution-free power by purchasing new wind power through Rocky Mountain Power’s Blue Sky program. Sign up through their website or over the phones at 1-800-842-8458. It takes just a few minutes.
  • Become an e2 Citizen. Salt Lake City Green will help you become an e2 Citizen, e2 Student or an e2 Business.
  • Read. Consider reading The Weather Makers by Tim Flannery, Coal: A Human History by Barbara Freese, Silent Snow: The Slow Poisoning of the Arctic by Maria Cone, or Having Faith: An Ecologist’s Journey to Motherhood by Sandra Staingraber.
  • Surf. Thermwise, Choose Renewable Power from Rocky Mountain Power, and Utah Clean Energy.
  • Do an Energy Audit. Do a quick audit on your home energy use at Utah Clean Energy.
  • Take the Energy Pledge. Customize and send your letter to Utah Clean Energy.
  • Join Utah Moms for Clean Air. Subscribe to our email announcements by following the link on the upper right column of this page. Give your time, skills, and expertise to clean air by volunteering.
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