One Utah City Named “Most Unhealthy City” in the Entire State
Utah is known for its beautiful natural scenery, fun things to do outside, and the impact of Mormon culture. That being said, the state also has some of the worst air quality problems in the country, especially in the winter when weather inversions trap pollutants near the surface.
Utah has a lot of towns and counties with bad air quality, but Roosevelt is the most unhealthy city in the whole state.
Why is Roosevelt the Utah City With the Worst Health?
There are only 7,041 people living in Roosevelt, which is a small town in Duchesne County. This area, which is in the Uinta Basin, has been dealing with high amounts of ozone and particulate pollution, mostly from oil and gas activities, farming, and car emissions.
The American Lung Association’s 2023 State of the Air study says that at 18.8 unhealthy days per year, Roosevelt has the most ozone pollution in the state. When sunlight hits nitrogen oxides and volatile organic molecules, ozone, a harmful gas, is made. It can make breathing hard, cause asthma attacks, and hurt the lungs.
Roosevelt also has the most short-term particle pollution in the state. Each year, the area has an average of 11.9 dangerous days. PM2.5, or particle pollution, is made up of very small solid and liquid particles that can get deep into the lungs and bloodstream. It can lead to heart attacks, strokes, cancer, and death before its time.
What Effects Does Living in Roosevelt Have on Your Health?
There are serious health problems that come with living in Roosevelt. A study from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology found that Utah’s bad air quality is responsible for more than 450 deaths each year. For this reason, about one in fifteen deaths in the state is linked to air pollution.
Air pollution has different effects on different groups of people’s health. People who are more likely to be exposed to ozone and particle pollution include children, the old, pregnant women, and people who already have long-term illnesses. They may also have more severe symptoms and complications.
Living in Roosevelt can also hurt people’s quality of life and job prospects. When the air quality is bad, it can make it hard to see, hurt crops and buildings, and stop people from visiting, investing, and building in the area.
What Can Be Done to Make Roosevelt’s Air Better?
To improve Roosevelt’s air quality, many groups must work together. These groups include the public, the oil and gas business, the agricultural sector, and the federal, state, and local governments. Some possible options are:
- Putting in place stricter rules and standards for emissions from oil and gas activities, like limiting flaring, venting, and leaks and installing pollution control devices.
- Trying to get people to use more clean energy sources, like solar, wind, and geothermal energy, and less fossil fuels.
- Getting more people to use cleaner forms of transportation like electric cars, public transit, carpooling, and walking, and getting cars to use less gas and idle less.
- People should be told about the health risks of air pollution and what they can do to protect themselves and their families. This means keeping an eye on the air quality index, staying inside on days when the air quality is bad, and using masks and air screens.
- Encourage and support study and monitoring efforts about air quality and its effects, as well as the creation of new and useful solutions.
Roosevelt is the least healthy city in Utah because it has the most ozone and particle pollution. This is mostly because of emissions from oil and gas activities, farming, and cars. Living in Roosevelt is very hard on people’s health and finances, especially those who are already struggling. Getting Roosevelt’s air quality problems under control will require an organized and united effort from many groups. These groups can use a variety of tools to lower emissions, support clean energy, and educate the public.