Published: Saturday 15 April 2000

Researchers testing the heavily-polluted air of San Jos's metropolitan area are amazed by the huge quantity of pollutants in the atmosphere.

According to Rosario Alfaro, researcher with the Air Quality Studies Programme at the Universidad Nacional ( una ) in Heredia, the quantity of pollutants (especially particulate matter) present in San Jos's air exceeds three times the levels recommended by the World Health Organisation.

"It is no surprise then that 60 per cent of tourists who visit Costa Rica don't want to come back, because of the city's polluted air," she pointed out.

Alfaro recently presented her report on San Jos's smoggy situation at the inauguration of the Fourth Annual Intercontinental Mobile Sources/Clean Air Conference in San Jos.

Addressing the gathering, Alfaro said: "It has been really difficult to make people aware that the air problem is real. At the university we feel that the government does not wanted to understand how serious this is." She invited participants to go downtown for a first-hand whiff of the problem.

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