PARK CITY — Residents in Summit County might be able to breathe a little easier thanks to a $120,000 grant from the Environmental Protection Agency’s Environmental Justice Fund.
The grant will be used by Utah Physicians for a Healthy Environment for a program intended to reduce exposure to wood smoke pollution by helping low- and moderate-income residents obtain sources of heat cleaner and healthier than wood-burning stoves.
In addition, the grant will help fund an education and awareness campaign for underserved populations to address the health effects of wood smoke.
Project partners include the Summit County Health Department, Habitat for Humanity of Summit & Wasatch Counties and PurpleAir.
“Wood smoke is one of the most toxic types of pollution the average person ever inhales, and a major source of overall pollution in Utah,” Jonny Vasic, executive director of the physician group, said in a statement. “This is an exciting partnership that will help educate the community about the adverse health effects of wood smoke, and improve the health of numerous families and the community at large.”
“This grant provides us the opportunity to improve air quality in Summit County and allows the residents to be a part of this proactive effort,” Philip Bondurant, Summit County Health Department’s environmental health director, said in the statement. “We're not only making a difference today, but responsibly preparing for the future as well.”
The funding is provided through EPA's Environmental Justice Collaborative Problem-Solving program, which supports local organizations in their efforts to develop and implement community-driven solutions that address environmental and public health disparities in minority, low-income, tribal and indigenous populations. Ten community projects were selected from 72 applications.