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The Air Belongs to All Living Things

From the standpoint of biology, all living creatures need oxygen to exist and continue to create. As a person with a compromising medical condition, asthma, I am acutely aware of changes in air quality and how they affect my everyday activities. I am told to not exercise or even go outside when the Air Quality Index is in the “unhealthy for sensitive groups” range. This is sometimes impossible; I may need to go to the store for food or to the hospital for breathing treatments.

In 2016, the "unhealthy for sensitive groups" range was met or exceeded more than 45 times in the winter and again many times in the summer. These are the days I wish I didn’t live in Utah, but this is where my life is, my family and friends. I do what I can to help though. I drive my car as little as possible and use conservation techniques in all areas of resource use. We have solar panels on our house, a battery-powered lawn mower, and are conscious about purchasing items that have limited impact on the environment and air quality. I was the camp director for The American Lung Associations “Asthma Camp,” counseling young asthmatics how to cope with their conditions.

My life will be shortened by my disease, and currently my lung capacity is at only 60 percent, greatly limiting my physical abilities. Every day in cities with poor air, children are being diagnosed with asthma, needing medication and limiting their life potential. Having trouble taking a breath is a horrible feeling.

Recently, Salt Lake City was compared to Donora, Pennsylvania, where in 1948 over 20 people died due to air pollution. Pollution of all kinds kill many thousands all across our country. Please do something for all the people, animals, and plants that inhabit this great state of Utah.


Nils Abramson has lived in Utah for the past 43 years. He came for the mountains, skiing, rivers, deserts, and the blue, sunny skies. Though he has lived at altitude, above most of the pollution for most of his time in Utah, he now lives in the city. Whenever the AQI is good enough, he bikes to work. b. 1955

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