Mexico City has taken drastic measures to reduce pollution by banning 20 percent of vehicular transportation in high populated areas throughout Mexico. The ban of 1 million vehicles is equivalent to the number of residents instructed to stay home due to poor air quality. Since March 14, 2016, smog has been highly visible in the city, which caused officials to enforce a ban on vehicles in the capital. The alarming amount of pollution in the city has made it extremely difficult for residents to function in their daily activities and breathe outdoors without covering their mouths. Poor air quality puts children and adults with respiratory issues, such as asthma, bronchitis, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), at risk of hospitalization.
It is not uncommon for Mexico City to reach hazardous air quality levels. According to ABC News, “Mayor Miguel A. Mancera told the local news that over 1 million cars in Mexico, including nearly 450,000 cars in the capital, were ordered off the road.” Officials were advised to limit the townspeople’s outdoor activity due to the presence of high ozone levels throughout the city. It is of great importance that people are indoors during the peak pollution levels of the day at 1 p.m. CST, until after rush hour traffic at 7 p.m. CST. Since the capital lies in a high-altitude area, the smog presence has quickly reached double its acceptable limit in the city.
In an attempt to help reduce smog, government officials are trying to phase out older vehicles that do not contain new technology that would transmit fewer fumes. According to Healthline, “The combination of vehicle emissions, temperature, and other unnatural air pollutants, all contribute to the formation of smog.” Ozone layers formed in the Earth’s lower atmosphere can possibly lead to smog and endanger the health of individuals subjected to the poor quality of air. Inhaling smog can instantly lead to several short and long-term illnesses, including the following:
• Body pain
• Throat irritation
• Enhancement of asthma symptoms
• Bronchial diseases
• Difficulty breathing
• Lung damage, and in worse cases, lung cancer
According to the Wall Street Journal, “Several reports from the Mexican Institute of Competitiveness has recorded over 1,800 premature deaths in Mexico due to the air pollution.” Despite all of the warnings to stay home from Mexican government officials, and implemented travel bans, some residents are continuing to disobey authorities.
In reaction to the smog, many animals, plants, and crops deter their growth when introduced to these toxic environments; causing them to die. In an effort to limit the toxic emissions being released upon the community, officials have made several attempts to find ways to divert drivers to other means of transportation. Drastic measures have been taken by Mexico City officials, via offering free rides on subways, setting up eco-friendly bicycle stations throughout the city, implementing a curfew for residents, and having alternate driving days to reduce pollution.
Considering the density of the smog pollution and the drastic effects on the environment, Mexico City officials have taken the well-being of the townspeople into high regard. The continued implementation of various restrictions in Mexico City will take place until the air quality becomes stable.
By Jhayla D. Tyson
Edited by Leigh Haugh
ABC News: Mexico City Bans Many Cars in First Smog Alert in 11 Years
Conserve Energy Future: Causes and Effects of Smog
Healthline: The Dangers of Smog: What You Need to Know About Air Pollution
Mexico Daily News: Pollution Remains High in Mexico City Today
Wall Street Journal: Mexico City Endures Third day of Emergency Pollution
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Bottom Inline Image Courtesy of Taavi Randmaa’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License