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The city was shrouded in smog during an environmental contingency in May. The city was shrouded in smog during an environmental contingency in May.

Mayor hopes for ‘sensible’ decision in Greenpeace pollution case

Mayor Sheinbaum said that the city’s environmental contingency policy was designed by experts

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum hopes an injunction suspending the city’s environmental contingency program will be reversed soon, and on Friday called on the judge in the case to be “sensible.”

On Thursday, the judge issued a temporary injunction in response to legal action by Greenpeace requiring that the Environmental Commission of the Megalopolis (CAMe) declare an environmental contingency when the Imeca air quality index, which measures the concentration of pollutants, rises to 101 points.

Under the guidelines set by the CAMe last May, environmental contingencies are declared when the Imeca index rises above 150.

“We can’t have a political-environmental organization defining air pollution policy in the city,” said Sheinbaum. “We have institutions for that, working with experts.”

Sheinbaum attributed the ruling to a “confusion,” and said she expects it will be reversed.

“We worked on the contingency program with the participation of experts and academics, and I think the judge is going to be sensible,” she said. “There’s also confusion, because there’s a difference between an environmental norm and a contingency; the latter is for exceptional situations. I think this will be resolved soon.”

Greenpeace released a statement clarifying that the organization does not seek to end the environmental contingency program but rather to change the criteria for declaring contingencies so it is based on protecting the health of people in the metropolitan area.

“It’s well documented that the index that is currently being used is very permissive,” the statement said. “. . . We’re not asking for the contingencies to be ended, but that the criteria for declaring them be based on protecting the public.”

Once the judge makes a final ruling, the CAMe may need to adjust its criteria for declaring contingencies accordingly.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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