Local elementary school students have a plan to help fix Utah’s air pollution problem

SANDY, Utah -- As the ever-lingering haze continues to sit across the Salt Lake Valley, life carries on inside the inversion bubble.

Everyone knows the steps to take to cut down on the pollution as various organizations and state agencies push carpooling, a halt on using wood-burning stoves, etc.

Schools are also making sure the youngest generation does its part too.

An orange flag on display outside the front doors of Altara Elementary School in the Canyons School District reminded people of Tuesday's air quality level.

"Idle-free" signs and a banner next to the loading/unloading zone warn parents against leaving their car engines running.

Kids went outside for recess, well aware of what they were playing in.

"I don't like it," Altara 5th grader Brooke Bodell said of the inversion. "Because it just looks gross."

Fellow classmate Preston Reed learned about Utah's infamous air quality problems when he moved to the state.

"I asked my dad a long time ago, 'Hey, why does the air look so gray?'" Reed said. "And then he told me, 'It's really polluted, and it's getting really bad.' So, I want to try and fix that."

Wanting to fix it, naturally turns to wondering what to do to help.

The school district indicated that students worked on an idle-free project last year, in which kids drew up posters to promote turning off vehicles when possible.

Some of those posters are now printed on the banner that hangs next to the idle-free loading zone.

Kids say they've talked with their parents on how to help.

"We talk about maybe not use the car as much," 5th grader Jose Magann said. "Carpool instead of taking two separate cars."

The school district said most kids at Altara walk to and from school. The school hardly uses buses because they don't need to, the district explained.

"Just ride your bike or scooter, or just walk and also, get an electric car," Reed said. He walks to school every day.

"Turn off our cars when we're waiting for people," Bodell said. She said people can bring blankets in the cars.

They may be small steps, but to these kids, it's no less important--especially when it comes to what they breathe during play time outside.

"So we can breathe and see the world better," Magann said.

Reed added, "It makes everything better for everyone, because everybody has to breathe."