Three weeks after issuing an emergency alert in Mexico City due to extremely high levels of air pollution, the Environmental Commission of the Megalopolis yesterday presented 14 proposals aimed at reducing contamination.
Commission chief Víctor Hugo Páramo said the proposed measures will help to reduce fine airborne particulate matter by between 12% and 14% and volatile organic compounds by 46% beginning in 2020.
He explained that during a one-month period members of the public can email their opinions about the measures or their own proposals.
Citizens’ responses will be taken into account during the development of the plan to improve air quality in the Valley of México metropolitan area, Páramo said.
The 14 proposals are:
1. Emissions reduction in the distribution and use of LP gas.
The mandatory use of low-emission valves in the distribution and storage of gas is proposed for 2020. A social awareness campaign will educate the public about how to check for gas leaks and make informed purchases of gas tanks.
2. Reduction of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in household products.
Official emergency regulations will inform the public about the quantity of VOCs in different household cleaning products, personal hygiene products, paints and enamels. Rules will be established to ensure that the government only purchases products with low levels of VOCs.
3. Emissions controls at gas stations.
Inspections of gas stations will aim to detect and control evaporative gasoline emissions from fuel pumps. Gas stations will be supported to increase the efficiency of their control systems and a mechanism will be established to allow citizens to report stations where they have detected excessive gasoline odors.
4. Cleaner gasoline.
Authorities will modify existing regulations to ensure greater availability of low volatility gasoline between March and June, a period during which air quality in the capital and surrounding area tends to deteriorate.
5. Fire prevention.
As more than 60% of forest fires are the result of negligence, authorities will restrict controlled burns, including those for agricultural purposes, in the peak fire season of April and May.
6. Low emissions industry.
The use of natural gas and solar energy in local factories will be promoted and supported by authorities in the metropolitan area.
7. Environmentally-friendly public works.
Environmental and infrastructure authorities will collaborate to establish sustainable guidelines for the execution of public works. Machinery used in government infrastructure projects must be fitted with particle filters.
8. Crackdown on vehicle pollution.
Efforts to detect vehicles that are visibly polluting the air and to fine their drivers will be increased. Stricter circulation restrictions will be imposed on heavy vehicles and citizens will be encouraged to report sightings of vehicles that are in clear violation of emissions laws.
9. Stricter emissions limits for new cars.
New regulations will stipulate stricter emissions limits for new cars and provide incentives for the use of electric and hybrid vehicles.
10. Restrictions on the sale of motorcycles.
By the year 2021, it is proposed that all new motorcycles sold in Mexico City must meet European emissions standards.
11. Introduction of a new emissions verification scheme for vehicles.
Hybrid and electric vehicles will be issued with “ecological” license plates and all other vehicles will have to pass stricter emissions tests in order to be able to circulate without restrictions, or in the case of older cars, remain on the road.
12. Sustainable transportation.
Authorities will reduce the use of government vehicles on Fridays this year and car-pooling programs for public employees will be introduced next year. Incentives will be on offer for those who participate in car-pooling schemes.
13. Public transit expansion.
New bus lines are proposed for Mexico City and México state and a high percentage of public buses will undergo modification to make them more environmentally friendly. Extension of Line 12 of the Metro system is under consideration and more cycle paths and bike parking stations will be built.
14. Development of technology that helps to reduce emissions.
Authorities will call for the submission of proposals that utilize new technologies to help reduce contamination.
Source: El Financiero (sp)