Desperate times call for desperate measures. In an effort to curb the high air pollution levels, Mexico City will begin to implement a stricter car ban that will run from April 5 to June 30 when the rains will hopefully bring the smog and air pollution levels down.
Although Mexico City's air pollution levels have improved over the years, it still remains to be one of the worst in the world.
In fact, the city has been previously called "the most dangerous city" to raise children and the most polluted planet in the world by the United Nations — titles that the city wants to do away by taking such drastic measures.
Before, in order to reduce the smog, the city has decided to ban vehicles on the road on certain days unless they have an exempt sticker, which signifies the car has already been tested and checked for smog and scored low on emission.
But with the new car ban, even these sticker-carrying vehicles need to get off the road once a week and one Saturday per month, announced [in Spanish] the Environmental Commission of the Megalopolis, a government agency whose authority covers the city and its nearby suburbs.
Along with the car ban are the possible upgrades and changes in monitoring smog or air pollution levels in the city including lowering the maximum level on which alerts will be called especially since they believed that contaminants in the air will continue to accumulate throughout the dry season.
The city issued its first air pollution alert on March 14 when the ozone levels were measured to be twice than the acceptable limit. The alert, which lasted for four days, affected more than 1 million cars including almost 500,000 vehicles in the Valley of Mexico, where most of the pollutants remained trapped. It also covered cars more than 8 years old, whose ruling barring them from using the roads once a week has been recently overturned by the Supreme Court.
The commission is also planning to upgrade the technology used in its different smog-check centers, hopefully reducing bribery between drivers and testers who can verify a car as clean for a small fee.
"The definitive 'no circulation' program will align with the new rule for vehicular verification that will be presented soon," tweeted Rafael Pacchiano, federal environment secretary. "In addition the car ban, the commission is also working on medium-term solutions like improving public transport," he further added.
Photo: Eneas De Troya | Flickr