Utah’s Air Pollution at an All-Time High


Fires all across the United States leave the western states stuck in thick layers of smoke and other pollutants. Notably, Utah valleys fall victim as the bad air quality becomes trapped in the deeper, concave areas of the state. August 6, 2021 marks the day that Utah’s air pollutant levels surpassed every other area in the world, causing mass cancelations of games and activities. Day’s like this are what create a dangerous environment to those who struggle with breathing problems. 

Going outside is a fully normal part of everyday life, but when Utah’s air quality is deemed “unsafe” it is not that simple. The devastating effects of just inhaling the polluted air is described by Western Resource Advocates as capable of causing lifelong issues. The article states, “Air pollution increases heart attacks and strokes, and raises blood pressure. The level of air pollution in the Wasatch front is causing 1,400 to 2,000 premature deaths each year. Basically, air pollution is harmful to everyone, shortening life expectancy”.  Other sources state that breathing in this unhealthy air can lead to potential birth defects and nerve damage. The importance of clean air in our environment is vital especially during times of quarantine and isolation, as going outside is some people’s only option of leaving their house. 

Although Utah’s poor air quality is largely affected by vehicle exhaust, the 2021 wild fires all around the United states were really what contributed to the dangerous atmosphere. The uncontrollable fires on the west coast, more specifically northern California, sent their smoke and ash all the way to Utah and our surrounding states. Skyline Student, Jack Sherwood, stated, “It feels pretty impossible to breathe some days.” Sherwood has struggled with asthma his whole life, and feels the bad air quality in Utah is a major problem. He describes his days outside in the air as “dangerous” and “scary”. 

As our world has advanced into the technologically evolved place it is today, we take clean air for granted. Every aspect of our lives, health, and all around well being revolve around our inhalation of clean air, and after years of pollution, the earth’s atmosphere is damaged beyond repair. So it is our job as members of the community to keep our air clean and safe. People like Sherwood that also suffer with asthma or other breathing problems need to be able to have clean pure air and we all need to work together to achieve that.