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Smog: a tale of two cities

15 January 2014

It seems that besides not making a big deal out of same-sex marriage, there are other things Utah could learn from Mexico City.

Salt Lake City Tribune, 4 January 2014:

Salt Lake City exists in a high altitude bowl surrounded by mountains, making us more vulnerable to pollution build up than other major cities. We all get that.


Mexico City has geography similar to Salt Lake City, surrounded by SLC_51351stunning, snow-capped mountains reaching even higher than ours — 17,000 ft. By 1990 Mexico City was named the most polluted city in the world by the United Nations.

Stories of birds dropping dead in flight were legendary. Mexico City was worthy of the name, the “Desolation of ‘Smog,’” long before the Hobbit movie came out. It was considered the most dangerous city for children to grow up in.

Then a funny thing happened on the way to pollution ignominy. Residents and politicians decided geography was no longer an excuse for breathing toxic air.

They added a suburban train, a low-emissions bus system, dedicated a highway lane to the “Metrobus,” and launched bike sharing. They initiated programs to get old, high polluting cars off the road.


Twenty years later, despite continued growth — including doubling the number of cars to 4.2 million and an increase in the population to 20 million — Mexico City has cut most of its pollution components at least in half.


Mexico City has proven, “It can be done.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. 15 January 2014 9:20 pm

    Yeah, hopefully the old diesel powered buses are a thing of the past. I guess they are. I drove a rental car out of and into the City last year. Got a bit lost, but made it thru. They restrict most cars to driving only every other day, based on the last digit of the license plate number, but rentals are exempt from the rule.

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