EDITORIAL: Dusty days ahead

The weather is getting warmer, Golden’s resident grizzly bear Boo has come out of his den, and the snow is receding from south-facing properties.

Those of us with front walkways facing the north are still slipping around, but enjoying the warmer weather regardless. Maybe you will catch us chipping away at a winter’s worth of ice and compact snow, but the spring vibes are still there, as everyone slowly comes out to enjoy the sunshine.

Some of us with a green thumb have already planted seeds for summer crops and flowers. Warmth is on the horizon. Take a deep breath of spring air. Inhale all it has to offer. Every dust particle and poo scent that is left over from being buried beneath the snow.

Air quality in Golden has never been amazing. All winter, chimney smoke hovers in the air, trapped in our valley for us to breathe in. Toxic and smelly, we carry the smoky smell with us into our homes.

Even still as the weather warms up, people continue to light their fires after a long day at work to warm up their homes. It’s the most common way to heat a home, after electricity, which is expensive and inefficient.

On top of the smoke that looms over us, it is now mashing together with a mixture of salt and dust from the roads. The dry pavement is a welcome annual surprise, but it brings a hazy dust with it along the highways and streets in Golden. For those who are sensitive to it, the dry, itchy eyes have set in, and a tickle in the back of your throat seems relentless.

It’s all par for the course, rolling into warmer weather. All winter, we have been throwing gravel on the roads, watching the lines separating the lanes and intersections disappear. As far as I know, there’s no alternative.

Some things you can do to prevent yourself from inhaling more dust and dirt than necessary includes breathing through your nose, since it acts as a filter for the largest particles; plan your running or jogging route to avoid roadways that produce a lot of debris; don’t open your windows that face high-traffic roads and streets; use recycled air in your vehicle to prevent extra dust and pollution from coming in; and try to use roads and streets that are less dusty.

Soon enough, the streets will be cleaned, and all the gravel will be swept up in yet another dust cloud. It’s probably also time to replace air filters in your vehicles at this point too.

Then, the flowers will bloom, the river will thaw, and spring will officially be on its way. The air will clear just in time for wildfire season.

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