Saturday, January 16, 2010

Red Alert!

"There's so much pollution in the air now that if it weren't for our lungs there'd be no place to put it all."
~Robert Orben

Do any of you know that Salt Lake is currently home to the most unhealthy air in the United States? I'm not kidding. This time Los Angeles is NOT the winner. The thick, stagnant smog covering the Salt Lake Valley has been here for weeks and is really beginning to out-stay its welcome.

Okay, so it's never really welcomed by me (or probably anyone who lives here), but we expect it a few times in mid-winter due to the strong areas of high pressure that often park themselves over the valley. Folks, this is what we call an inversion. I thought "inversion" was a made-up Utah word when I first moved here. Seriously, I did. But oh no, it's an actual meteorological term with a scientific explanation. But this particular inversion with its thick, heavy, dirty, dirty, stagnant smog has been around a long time. And it's not going away! We've had Red Air Alerts for weeks and my lungs can feel it. And the beautiful mountains in Utah? Yeah, CAN'T SEE THEM! No kidding. You can barely make the out, the air is so thick.

We hear this every day: "People with heart or lung disease, older adults, and children should avoid prolonged or heavy exertion. Everyone else should reduce prolonged or heavy exertion."

Seriously, it is SO bad. I have had a constant sore throat the past week. I've been coughing feeling like I can't get enough oxygen and I'm getting winded much more easily. This last Wednesday at work, Kendra and I were taking the stairs to the fourth floor. By the time we got to the top, I was SO winded. I was confused because I didn't think I was that out of shape. Four flights of stairs usually doesn't affect me like that. I was kind of embarrassed and apologized for needing to stop and catch my breath. That's when I realized that she was out of breath too and blamed the air quality. All of a sudden it made so much sense. No, I'm not out of shape, but when you can't breathe, you can't function normally!

Speaking of not functioning normally because of polluted air... there is research that men's sperm counts in Salt Lake are lower because of pollution. Why do I know this? Because I googled pollution in Salt Lake City. Yes, this was one of the first things that came up. Random, I know. But the fact that this pollution is affecting your ability to procreate... Now, that's bad. Seriously people, we need to be a more green city. We can't mess with Nature and the high pressure areas she gifts us in winter, but we can certainly do better about not adding to the pollution.

This season's smog has really had me thinking about a move in the next few years. I love Salt Lake City and all it has to offer. It's beautiful in many ways. But the smog and lack of oxygen? I'm just not sure I can handle that for too many more years. I'm thinking:

1. Seattle "If you like damp, cool weather, an overcast sky, and a mild climate, Seattle is the place for you. If you like hot and sunny weather, you will not want to live in Seattle."  Beautiful Seattle article.

2. London "London has a temperate marine climate, like much of the British Isles, so the city rarely sees extremely high or low temperatures."  Wikipedia article on London.


Give me some other thoughts. :) Keep in mind that the temperate climate that doesn't get too hot in the summer or too cold in the winter and preferably has some time of ocean breeze would be most pleasing. And fog is just fine! Just no smog. Thanks.

But for now, they say that by Monday, we have a storm coming in that should bring enough rain to clear out much of the unhealthy air. But they still show Monday with a Yellow Alert. We'll see about that. Pray. Just keep praying! I think I'm going to do a rain dance now.

1 comment:

Joe and AnnMarie said...

When you googled Salt Lake poluution did you read anything about breathing the polluted air damages your lungs similar to smoking?