The costs of bad air quality

It’s well known that Utah has terrible air quality due to geography and atmospheric conditions. Specifically, Utah spent the last 60 or 70 years building the same kind of awful, car-oriented sprawl that other states have, but is suffering somewhat more dire consequences.

It isn’t fair, but the consequences are dire indeed.

Recently, Global Travel Industry News reported that visits to Beijing are dropping off:

Tourism arrivals into China’s capital Beijing are in a freefall. The 14.3 percent drop in the first half year compared to 2012 is a result by travelers to avoid air pollution.

In other words, people will avoid a place if they think the air is dangerous.

Unfortunately, that same article also mentions Utah:

To give a sense of the scale, there was a big controversy in Utah right about the PM2.5 air pollution in Salt Lake City had sometimes hit as high as 69.

That number is considered unhealthy.

The article goes on to point out that pollution levels in China are much, much higher than in Utah.

Still, it’s sad that Utah is being held up as the gauge for worldwide dirty air. The article also shows that places with unhealthy conditions suffer real economic loses. Utah’s loses may not be as dramatic as China’s, but if something doesn’t change they will continue to mount.

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