Red air alert: Unhealthy air blankets Salt Lake Valley

Red air alert: Unhealthy air blankets Salt Lake Valley (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) -

“Unhealthy” air quality blankets Salt Lake Valley

Patches of red lit up the air quality map of the Wasatch Front Tuesday, and weather experts say it will continue to spread.

"It's happened before. But it's especially bad this year," said Dave Clark, who has lived in Northern Utah since 1983. "It's just horrible. It's just, like, awful. It's really bad."

Clark drives a hybrid because he is concerned with economic development in the valley due to poor air quality.

"We can't attract companies to move here and employees to live here if they have to be subjected to this."

Air quality experts say Utahns are starting to wise up to the fact vehicle emissions make up about half of the state’s pollution, and they’re starting to make wiser choices.

Last year, UCAIR executive director Thom Carter said 70% of Utahns polled reported they made some change to their behavior to reduce emissions during the inversion season.

Bo Call with the Department of Air Quality says this is just the start of the winter inversion season. He said Tuesday’s air quality was the worst of the season, but expected it to continue for at least a week.

Call explained the state’s rating system falls in line with the national ratings. They are divided up into six colors. Red is “unhealthy.” There are two more severe ratings, “very unhealthy,” and “hazardous.”

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