Dangerous Air Pollution in Bogota, Colombia
Warning! If you are considering coming to Bogota, Colombia
check this before coming. This is what the air you are going to breathe in
Sulphur dioxide (SO2). This
contaminant is mainly emitted during the combustion of sulphur-containing
fossil fuels, such as crude oil and coal. Sulphure dioxide concentrations in
air have decreased in the past two decades, mainly because we use more
non-sulphure-containing fuels for the generation of energy. Sulphur dioxide
is a stinging gas and as a result it can cause breathing problems with
humans. In moist environments, sulphure dioxide may be transferred to
sulphuric acid. This acid causes acidification
and winter smog.
Nitrogen oxides (NOx). These contaminants are emitted by
traffic, combustion installations, such as power plants, and the industries.
Nitrogen oxides are also released from farmland in the agricultural sector.
Using catalysers in car exhausts can prevent emissions of nitrogen oxides.
Nitrogen oxides are gasses that react with other air pollutants when they
are present in air. For example, nitrogen oxides play an important rolein
the formation of ozone in the lower atmosphere, and in acidification and
processes. They can deeply penetrate the lungs and damage human lung
-VOC (Volatile Organic Compounds). VOC can be a range of different
contaminants, such as carbohydrates, organic compounds and solvents. These
compounds usually derive from petrol and gasoline reservoirs, industrial
processes and fuel combustion, paint and cleanser use, or agricultural
activities. VOC play an important role in ozone shaping in the lower
atmospheric layer, the main cause of smog. VOC can cause
various health effects, depending on the kind of compounds that are present
and their concentrations. Effects can vary from smell nuisance to decreases
in lung capacity, and even cancer.
Carbon monoxide (CO). This gas consists during incomplete combustion of
fuels. When we let a car engine run in a closed room, carbon monoxide
concentrations in the air will rise extensively. Carbon monoxide contributes
to the greenhouse effect, smog and acidification. The gas can bind to
haemoglobin in blood, preventing oxygen transport through the body. This
results in oxygen depletion of the heart, brains and blood vessels,
eventually causing death.
Lead (Pb). Comes from
Combustion of fossil fuels and leaded gasoline; paint; smelters (metal
refineries); battery manufacturing. It causes brain
and nervous system damage (esp. children), digestive and other problems.
Some lead-containing chemicals cause cancer in animals
Dust particles. Dust particles form a complex of organic compounds and
minerals. These can derive from natural sources, such as volcanoes, or human
activities, such as industrial combustion processes or traffic. Particles
are categorised according to particle size. The smallest particles have the
ability to transport toxic compounds into the respiratory tract. Some of
these compounds are carcinogenic. The upper respiratory tract stops the
larger dust particles. When they are released into the environment, dust
particles can cause acidification and winter smog.
Click the images to see where the smog comes
These pictures were taken last
September 25 in the morning in a sunny day.
The pictures above show how stupid (literally! Just
check the pictures to see results) these things are:
Car-free day. Results: The next days lots of
traffic jams because people are bound to use their cars for what they
could not use them during the Car-free day. City economy
goes well down during the car-free day while insecurity increases.
One year emission Analysis certificate for public
transportation vehicles and two year emission Analysis certificate for
private vehicles. This is like trying to keep drunk driver to drive by asking
for a 2 month blood alcohol test certificate
Transmilenio. Public transportation service based
on big busses moved by Diesel. See results in the pictures
"Pico y Placa” (Peak and License Plate).
Car use restriction by the last digit of the license plate number. Results: The traffic jams
moved out of the restriction schedule to affect other hours. Many people
bought a second, third fourth car, etc. The city economy has been hardly affected
the way of applying the restriction was defined, that is, by the
last digit of the license
Bogota majors responsible for the items above (and for the
pollution of course): Enrique Peñaloza (main responsible) and Antanas Mockus