SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) – Olivia Phillips is training for her first marathon, but Utah’s air quality is putting a damper on her training regimen.
“It’s a big hindrance to want to train outside because the air is so bad which means I have to train on the treadmill which isn’t ideal I think when training for a marathon,” said Phillips.
While inversion season is coming to a close with spring approaching, some environmental advocates are concerned Utah’s air quality will get worse as Salt Lake City continues to grow at a rapid rate.
“There are some projected numbers that by 2060 we’re going to see 5.5 million people living in the Salt Lake Valley,” said Alex Veilleux, a policy associate for Healthy Environment Alliance of Utah (HEAL Utah). “That equates to 1.7 million more cars on the road.”
HEAL Utah says about 40 percent of the emissions contributing to the air quality issue are from motor vehicles and the effects of the air quality are more noticeable in the valley than they are in higher elevation areas.
“The nice thing about kind of living on the hill is you can kind of see over the inversion but when you drive into the valley, there are times you can’t even see the mountains to your right or to your left,” said Phillips.
Veilleux says this means economically disadvantaged people are impacted more severely
“They are going to be the first ones affected and they’re going to have more days where they are affected by it,” said Veilleux. “And they’re going to have thicker air quality issues. It’s going to be more concentrated down in that area.”