Utah Governor Gary Herbert is out of the country right now on a trade mission in Israel. But that didn’t stop environmentalists from holding an Earth Day rally right in front of the Governor’s Mansion on South Temple.
As traffic whizzed by on one of Salt Lake City’s busiest streets, demonstrators wrote their messages of protest on blue ribbons. They had to tie them to a volleyball net because they weren’t allowed to put them on the governor’s wrought-iron fence.
Utah physicians declared a public health emergency in the middle of a particularly bad air pollution season this year, pointing to spikes in ER visits, respiratory and cardiovascular episodes, and even deaths. Governor Gary Herbert declined to declare an emergency and says that some activists are exaggerating the problem. In the final story in our series of reports on Clearing the Air, KUER looks at what we know and don’t know about the health effects of Utah’s air pollution.
The air pollution that we can see suspended in the cold air trapped during Utah’s infamous temperature inversions is called PM 2.5 – particulate matter 2.5 microns in diameter or smaller. Just how much of that comes from large industrial polluters is a subject of some dispute, along with just what should be done about it. Dan Bammes has the third in our series of reports on Clearing the Air.