Salt Lake City is ramping up its Idle Free campaign in an effort to combat skyrocketing summertime air pollution.
Olivia Juarez says triple digit temperatures lead to huge spikes in air pollution across the Salt Lake Valley.
“With it being hot in the summer and a lot of people trying to stay cool in their cars, it’s exacerbating the general condition of all air quality problems as long as you’re using energy and that energy is releasing pollutants into the air,” she says.
Juarez is the idle free city coordinator for Salt Lake City. She says drivers can eliminate more than 300,000 pounds of air pollution in Salt Lake City this year, just by turning off their engines when they’re not in motion.
Salt Lake City received about $35,000 from the non-profit Utah Clean Air Partnership or UCAIR to distribute hundreds of newly designed Idle Free City signs to businesses, schools, city parks and key streets. The city also launched a new website with resources about air quality and how to avoid idling. Ted Wilson is Executive Director of UCAIR.
“We felt it was worthwhile because idling is something that we can all avoid and it doesn’t take a lot of our sacrifice to do,” Wilson says.
The Salt Lake City Council passed an ordinance in 2011 to ban unnecessary idling. Drivers can be fined after three warnings for idling longer than two minutes.