At noon this Friday, the Secretariat of the Environment of the State of Mexico activated Phase II of the Emergency Winter Program for Atmospheric Environmental Contingencies in the metropolitan areas of Valle de Toluca and Santiago Tianguistenco.
The burning of fireworks for the New Year’s celebration caused the concentration of PM10 AND PM2.5 particles to exceed 200 points, generating a “VERY HIGH” risk. The government of the State of Mexico recommends that the entire population, as well as vulnerable groups, avoid doing vigorous physical activities outdoors and attend the doctor in case of respiratory or cardiac complications.
At 12 o’clock in the afternoon the atmospheric stations of San Cristobal Huichochitlán, San Mateo Atenco, Xonacatlán and Almoloya de Juárez of the Air Quality Index and Health Risks of the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Toluca (ZMVT) reported a “VERY HIGH” and “HIGH” risk level due to the concentration of PM10 and PM2.5.
Historically, the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico and its inhabitants have had to deal with concentrations of air pollutants that far exceed the levels allowed by local legal provisions and by international environmental organizations and conventions.
Activities such as the use of pyrotechnics, burning of garbage and the use of cars without verification contribute greatly to the alteration of the atmospheric balance, creating a harmful environment that can condition the population to be born or develop serious respiratory diseases.
The government of Mexico City, through the Ministry of the Environment and the Directorate of Atmospheric Monitoring, recommends that the entire population, as well as vulnerable groups, avoid doing vigorous physical activities outdoors, in addition to protecting themselves from UV solar radiation.
Today, Friday, January 1, 2021, the Air and Health Index of the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico and the CDMX Air Quality Index report a “POOR” air quality with a “HIGH” risk due to the concentration of PM10 AND PM2.5 particles.
In Mexico City, the most affected areas are Iztapalapa and Santiago Acahualtepec with a “BAD” quality and a “HIGH” risk., while other parts of the city such as Tláhuac, Xochimilco, Santa Fe and Gustavo A. Madero have a “ACCEPTABLE” quality and a “MODERATE” risk for ozone (O3) and PM2.5 particles.
The Atmospheric Monitoring Directorate defines pollution as “the modification of the natural composition of the air by the presence of substances or compounds in concentrations that can have a harmful impact on human health or the environment.”
These substances can be in the form of gases, vapors, fumes or particles. Currently air quality indices continuously measure criteria pollutants: ozone (O3), sulfur dioxide (SO2), carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), particulate matter (PST, PM10, PM2.5) and lead (Pb).
According to data from the Directorate, CDMX on average contributes 30% of particles and 40% of ozone precursors of the emissions generated throughout the Metropolitan Area of the Valley of Mexico. While the main generator of PM10 and PM2.5 particulate emissions in Mexico City is transportation, especially tractors and buses.
The Ministry of the Environment warns that there is “a wide range of health effects derived from pollution, which depend on the physical condition of the exposed individual, the exposure time, the concentration and type of pollutant.”
Damages can range from mild discomfort to the respiratory system, aggravation of pre-existing symptoms, and in extreme cases death.
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