Provo: task force created to improve air quality

PROVO — The inversion just won’t let up around Provo, but now there’s a new task force charged with improving air quality.

The mayor’s office along with, the Chamber of Commerce, and Intermountain Healthcare are leading the charge.

“We feel like we have an obligation to help the community, particularly on red air days,” said Ethan Shumway with Utah Valley Regional Medical Center. “When there is a red air day we want people in the community to know it’s best to stay indoors — working outside, exercising outside is not preferred on a red air days.”

Car emissions are the biggest source of pollution in Utah County, according to a recent study by Provo City.

Emissions experts say the majority of pollution comes from cars more than 10 years old or from drivers who ignore their check engine light.

“It’s there for a reason and some people will ignore it because they see that light come on and they think ‘oh no, that’s $500 right there,’” said Cayleb Ercanbrack with Honest-1 Auto Care. “But what people don’t realize is that your vehicle kind of goes into a safe mode when it see a problem and that check engine light comes on and it doesn’t run as efficiently as it should.”

Provo Mayor John Curtis said he wants to examine how practical it is to walk through the city. Plans are also in the works to revamp bike trails, and the task force plans to increase education programs.

“More of our air pollution comes from vehicles than Salt Lake City,” Curtis said. “So some of the answers are going to be different. Where for us it will be important to reduce vehicle trips, where in another valley it might be more important to target industry.”

If you see emissions problems you are asked to call the Utah County Bureau of Air Quality at 801-851-7600.

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