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I used to go to the Great Salt Lake a lot as a kid and go on field trips in school when I was at Kearns Junior. I fear for it drying up, and I think we can do something to stop it. I like going over to the lake. I swam in it one time; I didn't know you could swim in it. We're walking up to it, and there's like hundreds of feet of just nothing, you know, and then the water was there. I was like, “Wow, this is drying up. It wasn't like this when I was a kid back then.”

Tea’s family is originally from South Sudan. He was born in Salt Lake City and lived in Glendale and Kearns. Tea has fond memories of going to Great Salt Lake, including swimming at the lake and field trips to Antelope Island. He hopes to one day return to the lake’s waters with his family. 

Tea is currently incarcerated at the Utah State Correctional Facility, which was constructed on top of Great Salt Lake wetlands. The prison has had a notable mosquito problem, which has created health hazards for people incarcerated and workers at the site. Tea has also experienced dust storms from the dried lakebed and says that people avoid going outside on bad air days. This creates various physical and mental health challenges. People incarcerated at the Utah State Correctional Facility experience some of the greatest impacts of the drying Great Salt Lake and ongoing industrialization on the lake’s shores, yet they can’t just pick up and leave if the lake turns into a toxic dust bowl. 

Mosquitoes are crazy. They are everywhere. If you’re outside for not even a second, you're getting attacked by 10 of them and they're just jumping on you. You have to walk to chow —  it's a long walk all the way down there — and that whole stretch you're getting attacked by mosquitoes and can't wear anything over your head. On the walls, you'll see mosquitoes' blood everywhere from people smacking them. It’s disgusting. Sometimes, if there's a lot of them out there, I won't go get food or anything like that.

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