An inversion layer is formed when a reversal of the normal atmospheric conditions of temperature in the troposphere (the layer of the atmosphere closest to Earth’s surface), in which a layer of cool air at the surface is overlain by a layer of warmer air. Inversions usually occur during the winter months. They trap a dense layer of cold air under a layer of warm air. The warm layer acts very similar to a lid, trapping pollutants in the cold air near the valley floor. According to airnow.gov, four of the five cities with the unhealthiest air today are in Utah: Logan, Salt Lake City, Provo, and Bingham City. The article, How does Utah Compare to the World Most Polluted Cities? says that according to the Utah Department of Environmental Quality, on Tuesday, January 2nd, the PMT2.5 particles in Utah were between 60 and 80 micrograms. On that very same Tuesday, Beijing’s levels were 67. The American Lung Association ranks the Salt Lake/Provo metropolitan area as the 7th worst for short-term particle pollution in the country. PMT2.5 particles are inhaled in to the lungs. The article, Killing Me Softly: The Truth About Utah’s Air Pollution states that the absorption of PMT2.5 into the lungs can cause long-term problem such as heart attacks, arrhythmia, asthma, and decreased lung function. This proses a huge threat to children, athletes, elderly, pregnant women, and anyone who is outside on a day-to-day basis. 57% of Utah’s emissions come from mobile sources (cars, trucks, etc), 32% from area sources (gas stations, smoke stacks, etc), and 11% from industry (large power plants, factories, etc) (DEQ Utah). These percentages should encourage Utah’s residence to stop idling, carpool, ride bikes, and to push for better environmental regulations in such a beautiful state. As temperatures increase, Utah’s inversion layer will only get worst. It is time for Utah to take a leap towards better environmental, and air pollution safety before it is too late.
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