This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
I chuckled and coughed a little when I read that Utah is scrapping its red-yellow-green alert scheme in favor of a more convoluted federal air quality scale ("New Utah air alerts have some seeing red," Tribune, Nov. 27). The new system will likely result in a greater number of "no burn" days per year. Fantastic.
Now that we have a nifty new air-action scale, have we also adopted a system to address the problem?
When the Wasatch Front disappears beneath a soup of filth, are those "no burn" bans being enforced? Are commuters being proactive by carpooling or taking TRAX? Are state officials going after huge commercial polluters? My guess: Probably not.
Our dirty air is human-caused, plain and simple, and the situation is made worse by our unique geography. We can't do much about the geography, but we can attack the myriad sources of pollutants if we have the will.
A new way to measure unhealthy air doesn't remove it.