It's ozone season! Show UCAIR and take action for better air

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UCAIR

When it’s winter and inversion season, we talk a lot about air quality. It’s now summer and we’re talking with the Utah Clean Air Partnership, UCAIR, about what we need to know about air quality and ozone season.

Thom Carter, UCAIR executive director, says as summer begins, so does the ozone season. Ground-level ozone is created when chemical reactions from volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and oxides of nitrogen react with sunlight. High levels of ground-level ozone in the summertime can have the same effects as poor air in the winter—throat irritation, worsening asthma and other respiratory issues. Summer ozone pollution is a gas and winter inversion pollution is made up of particulates, but like winter, small things we do every day in the summer will make a big impact on reducing ground-level ozone to improve our air quality.

Small and easy changes, really do make a difference. Things like:

  • Fueling your vehicle or mowing the lawn in the evenings rather than in the mornings keeps VOCs out of the air during the heat of the day, meaning fewer ozone particles forming.
  • Driving less or using electric tools limits the number of pollutants that can react in the atmosphere.
  • Check your tire pressure, keeping tires properly inflated decreases the amount of fuel used, as well as emissions.
  • All the things we do in the winter—not idling, skipping a trip or walking or biking— also help our air in the summertime.

As you know, since early spring, many of us have gotten a lot more experience with teleworking lately. UCAIR partnered with Salt Lake Chamber, EDC Utah, The State, WFRC, and others to find out what people’s experiences have been with teleworking.7,500 working people throughout the state responded to the survey, here is what we found:

Teleworking participation during the pandemic - 97% are doing some sort of teleworking during the pandemic.

More than 55% of organizations surveyed were teleworking exclusively during the height of the pandemic.

Attitude - 66% of employees had a positive attitude toward teleworking prior to the pandemic. 86% have a positive attitude about teleworking today—a 20% increase in just months.

Benefits experienced - 93% maintained or increased productivity working from home. 92% reduced/no commute. 85% saved money. 72% increased time with loved ones.

Biggest concern - More than 50% cited limited connection with co-workers and a decreased sense of team. Willingness to telework during inversions - 94% of executives said they are “likely” to continue to allow their employees to telework moving forward specifically during poor air quality days. 93% of employees say they want to continue teleworking specifically on poor air quality days.

For more information visit the UCAIR website, UCAIR.org where you can find videos and other ideas to help improve our air during the summer. You can also download the free UtahAir app to be aware of current air quality levels where you live.