Mexico City tackles pollution

2010-03-17 22:23

Mexico City - Long famous as one of the world's most polluted megalopolises, gritty Mexico City is beginning to see the fruits of years of clean-up efforts and to breathe somewhat cleaner air, experts say.

"The pollution problem is still there, but it is a fact that we have been fighting pollution for more than 20 years and the improvement is undeniable," said Gustavo Alanis, with the NGO Mexican Centre for Environmental Law.

Unusually good air quality in recent weeks has unveiled postcard-perfect views of the snow-capped volcanoes - Popocatepetl (mountain that releases smoke) and Iztaccihuatl (sleeping woman) - that overlook this teeming city of 20 million.

"In recent years we have beat the records for most days with passable ozone readings. In 2009 there were 185 in the acceptable range and we have started out 2010 with the greatest number of clean days, 50 out of the first 60," Martha Delgado of the Mexico City environment office told AFP.

Contingency plans

Ozone is the most closely monitored pollutant in Mexico's capital.

In the 1990s, the air was outside the acceptable range for more than half the year because of ozone pollution, Delgado noted.

That prompted the city to put air-quality "contingency" plans into effect, limiting the number of cars that could be on city streets, suspending public works and cancelling outdoor sports activities.

Aaron Jazcilevich, a researcher at the National University's Atmospheric Science Centre, said official measurements and independent studies actually agree that air quality is much better than a decade ago.

"There are two dominant factors: the weather one, with winds dispersing contaminants; and environmental regulation of private vehicles that now pollute less," said Jazcilevich.

No longer the worst

Mexico City, under leftist governments since 1997, has launched public transport modernisation programmes that copied successes of Bogota with a fast-lane bus system, and European efforts to replace some car use with bicycle traffic.

Juan Carlos Zarraga, a conservative lawmaker, said air quality is better but criticised the fast-lane bus programme, which led to trees being cut down.

Jazcilevich said much remains to be done to clean up Mexico City, saying it is still far short of a goal of just one day a year outside healthy ozone limits.

But at least there is something new in the air when authorities cannot agree on whether Mexico City is still among the world's worst in terms of pollution.

"It is possible that we may no longer be in the worst five," said Jazcilevich, noting that Mexico's capital's air now trails Cairo as well as Indian and Chinese cities on the most-polluted list.

Read more on:    mexico  |  environment
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!

Who would have guessed the world’s least visited country would have such spectacular beaches?

 
 

I love summer.24

LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014
10 of the strangest Christmas traditions around the world
2014's best drone videos

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

Any chance to explore the distant shores of things yet to be found will fascinate you. The challenge is dealing with the issues...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.