19 December 13
99% of Utahns Are Willing to Take Personal Action to Improve Air Quality
In a recent study commissioned by Envision Utah, 99% of Utahns expressed a willingness to do their part to help air quality. Survey respondents were most likely to combine errands into one trip, avoid idling their cars, do errands before or after—rather than during—inversions, and turn their thermostats down by two degrees. Many also said they would change the time they drive so it’s not during peak driving hours, stay at home and telecommute, turn down their water heater temperature, or carpool.
“When each of us does our part, together we can make a real difference in our air quality,” said Robert Grow, President and CEO of Envision Utah. “During our winter inversions or summer high pressure episodes, the pollution we each produce stays in our valleys. Every bit we can take out of the air helps. Even if you only reduce your pollution during inversions, it can make a difference.”
The statistical study was conducted by Heart + Mind Strategies and funded by Envision Utah in order to understand the public’s perception of air quality issues in the Greater Wasatch Area. Results from the research are intended to be used by the non-profits Envision Utah and UCAIR to conduct a public awareness campaign to help individuals understand what they can do to clear the air.
“This is a sophisticated study,” Grow said. “It uncovers how air quality impacts Utahns and how it makes them feel emotionally. We now understand the specific reasons Utahns don’t like the air quality during our inversions, and they’re various motivations to do something about it.”
“By taking steps to reduce your personal contribution to air pollution in the days preceding anticipated poor air quality, you are not only taking action when it counts the most but also taking that important first step to building lifelong habits that will help insure our air stays clean well into the future,” said Michelle Hofmann, a pediatrician and University of Utah assistant professor, who is also a member of the boards of Breathe Utah and UCAIR, both non-profits involved in air quality.
Utahns ranked air quality as having a more negative effect on their quality of life than any other issue. On the other hand, Utah’s natural beauty and outdoor recreation ranked as having the most positive influence on quality of life. Air quality has such a negative influence, study participants said, primarily because of its health impacts, but they also overwhelmingly said that poor air hinders their ability to have an active lifestyle outdoors and contributes to a gloomy, depressed feeling of being trapped inside.
Envision Utah is a not-for-profit public-private partnership that engages people to create communities that are beautiful, prosperous, healthy and neighborly for current and future residents. In October, Governor Gary Herbert announced the “Your Utah, Your Future” initiative led and facilitated by Envision Utah to establish a common vision for how Utah will accommodate by 2050 the next 2.5 million people, while maintaining clean air, good jobs, an affordable cost of living, and a high quality of life.
Part of that effort is the “Clean Air Action Team” that is charged with engaging all Utahns to consider choices and form recommendations for rapidly clearing the air. Envision Utah is currently facilitating the Clean Air Action Team, which has met three times and is exploring and analyzing numerous potential air quality strategies.
Learn more, read the study results, or give input at envisionutah.org.
Click the links below to download the Utah Air Quality Research results: