Mexico eyes stricter car emissions amid smog alert

March 16, 2016
A view of Mexico City blanketed by smog on March 15, 2016
A view of Mexico City blanketed by smog on March 15, 2016

Mexico's president demanded on Thursday stricter vehicle emissions controls for the country's sprawling capital as an air pollution alert prompted authorities to restrict traffic for a third straight day.

Some 1.1 million vehicles were banned from the metropolis, children and the elderly were encouraged to stay indoors, and bus and subway services were offered for free amid the first high ozone alert in 14 years.

President Enrique Pena Nieto, meanwhile, instructed the environment ministry to establish "as soon as possible" a new vehicle emissions test system with the best available technology to "ensure low emissions of pollutants" from cars.

"But we can't leave it at that. We need to go further, be more audacious and more determined" to prevent air pollution, he said in a speech at the inauguration of a military health center.

Pena Nieto said the environment minister will have to coordinate with authorities in the capital and five surrounding states to create the new rules for a metropolitan area of 21 million people, with five million vehicles out on the road each day.

The pollution alert marks a reversal from years of progress to improve air quality after the United Nations declared the Mexican capital the world's most polluted city in the 1990s.

The quality alert was issued after ozone concentration surpassed the 190-point limit, surging to 194, which can cause respiratory and cardiovascular ailments.

City authorities say a court ruling last year watered down a program that limits the number of days that older cars can be on the road, causing one million more vehicles to swarm the streets.

Explore further: More cars banned in Mexico City after pollution alert

Related Stories

More Chinese cities issue red alerts for heavy smog

December 24, 2015

More Chinese cities are issuing their first red alerts for pollution in response to forecasts of heavy smog, after the capital, Beijing, issued two this month following criticism for not releasing them earlier.

Beijing pollution soars but no red alert

December 29, 2015

Parts of China's capital Beijing suffered air pollution more than 20 times recommended levels on Tuesday, but authorities refrained from issuing the highest smog alert.

Air pollution alert raised in Barcelona

December 10, 2013

Authorities have raised an air pollution alert for the Spanish city of Barcelona, a major tourist draw which has lain for days under a toxic grey mist, an official said Tuesday.

Recommended for you

Weather anomalies accelerate the melting of sea ice

January 16, 2018

In the winter of 2015/16, something happened that had never before been seen on this scale: at the end of December, temperatures rose above zero degrees Celsius for several days in parts of the Arctic. Temperatures of up ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.