Reaching for Air

By Alixel Cabrera and Saige Miller

Residents on the west side of the Salt Lake Valley have vivid descriptions of the air they breathe. Some say they can taste it. The air is gritty in their mouth. They can smell it. An odor they can't seem to escape. They can feel the air trapped in their lungs. A sensation only an inhaler can solve.

Some days it's like walking through a ball of cotton. Other people say they avoid going outside when the mountains that surround them vanish behind a thick cloak of pollution.

There’s a reason why they bear that brunt. The polluted air has a lasting impact on their health — and there are solutions.

The Salt Lake Tribune and KUER explore these issues in Reaching for Air, a multimedia series. We interviewed dozens of west-siders to hear — in their own voices — what it’s like to live where pollution levels are sometimes dangerously unhealthy.

Read the series

Part 1
West-siders breathe the legacy of redlining
Part 2
Can west-siders afford the cost of bad air quality?
Part 3
There are solutions to clean up Utah’s air pollution problem. Will state leaders listen?

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