mexican topes Tope hell.

Study offers another reason to hate topes

The ubiquitous Mexican speed bump is bad for the environment

The oft-reviled tope, the ubiquitous Mexican speed bump, has been a source of agitation for many a driver, not only for inconvenience but for the damage it can do to a vehicle, particularly at night.

Many are unmarked and represent a dangerous hazard for the unwitting motorist — but there’s worse: they represent as well a hazard to the environment.

The Sciences Secretariat of the Mexico City government has warned that 80% of the city’s topes should be removed as a means to address atmospheric pollution. Secretary René Drucker said it was even more important this year given that more environmental warnings are anticipated.

There is even a study that offers some details about the tope’s contribution to pollution. “Every time a vehicle brakes and then accelerates [for a tope],” he said, “it emits nine times more pollution in the form of particulate matter and nitrogen dioxide, contributing to the formation of ozone.”

Given that Mexico City has an estimated 30,000 such speed bumps, the effects could be considerable.

It was in October 2014 that the Atmospheric Sciences Center of the National Autonomous University (UNAM) released a study that showed how topes contribute to air pollution. But according to Drucker, 16 months later there has been no effort made to remove them.

He conceded they are useful in some places, but suggested their installation has been excessive and without any sort of study to determine their usefulness. “There isn’t a city in the world with so many topes.”

A climate change specialist at UNAM warned that Mexico City’s environmental problems will increase if the loss of ecosystems is not reversed and the use of fossil fuels is not reduced.

“If we continue to lose lakes, if we do not change the type of gasoline we use or improve traffic and its circulation, we will see more environmental contingencies,” said Carlos Gay of University Program on Climate Change. Those contingencies are warnings that are issued when pollution levels reach certain heights.

A researcher at the Center of Atmospheric Sciences, Ángel Ruiz Angulo, said last November the average temperature in Mexico City has increase 5 C over the past 500 years due to the draining of lakes in the Valley of México.

Source: Reforma (sp)

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