Letter: Turn off snowblowers for better air

Published January 18, 2014 1:01 am

This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2014, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

Every time a snowstorm sweeps the Salt Lake Valley clean, I revel in the crisp, clear air and unobstructed views of our mountains that remain. Then, I hear the roar of the snowblowers; they remind me that the newly clean air will be short-lived. Their exhaust and fumes are a harbinger of the poor air quality we'll surely experience in the weeks to come.

It's not just my imagination. Two-stroke engines, which drive most snowblowers, often have no pollution-control devices. This means snowblowers are more polluting than our cars — a fact that is baldly evident to anyone who's ever breathed around one.

While I recognize that long-term solutions to our air-quality problem will require many, larger sacrifices, I respectfully ask my fellow citizens to make this small step today: retire your snowblowers and take up your snow shovels, in the name of fresh air.

Those of us who are hale enough to hand-shovel our driveways and walks will benefit from the exercise, and all the valley's residents will benefit from our collective effort. And on those bluebird mornings after a fresh snow, perhaps we can all enjoy the quietude and sweet air a little longer.

Erin Bean

Salt Lake City