(ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UTAH) It’s a nice sunny day in the Good4Utah Backyard. I’ve brought together three different folks to talk about something near and dear to my … lungs. Specifically air quality in the great state of Utah.
First up was Thom Carter, Director of UCAIR. I asked him what UCAIR stands for and what they do organization; “The Utah Clean Air Partnership was started to help every Utahan understand that they play a role in the Utah air quality problem. Almost 50 percent of our emission base comes from tailpipes.”
How can people reduce tailpipe emissions? Carter told me; “So there are a lot of ways that you can solve or at least mitigate air quality problems by getting people out of their car and onto a bicycle. It doesn’t have to be a traditional bicycle, it can be an electric bicycle. Those will remove all kinds of tailpipe emissions, plus make people happier, healthier, and just benefit us in the long run.”
Did you know that Utah is home to a manufacturer that assembles electric bikes in the same building where Model T’s were assembled a century ago?
Jesse Lapin is the co-founder of Magnum Bikes, downtown Salt Lake City. They are the only electric bike manufacturer in the entire state of Utah. I asked Jesse how a bicycle can help air quality. He replied; “Anytime someone is on a bicycle and they are commuting or using to get from place A to place B they are potentially replacing that with a gas-powered vehicle that’s reducing emissions right there.”
The folks at Bike Utah are getting into the action as well. Their community relations director, Jackie Baker, loves to ride bikes and encourage other Utahans to do as well. She told me about their work statewide; “One of our programs ins the Governors 1000-mile campaign where we work between now and 2027 to
build 1000 miles of family friendly bike lanes, paths and trails throughout the state of Utah.”
So, the big question with air quality is “How are we doing?”
According to UCAIR; “We’ve seen over the last 15 years a 33 percent increase in population in the state and a 35 percent decrease in emissions. It doesn’t mean we’ve solved inversion. In fact, we’ll never stop inversion, it’s a weather problem, but we have slowed down our build into red air. Last year we only have one red air day.”
Sounds like great news to me. Both Jackie Baker and Jesse Lapin shared the same sentiment about bicycles…it’s just fun and remember, every day is a great day to ride your bike.
These stories deserve to be told. These are Utah Caring Stories. I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.