Published: Friday 30 June 1995

Mexico hosted an international seminar -- Urban Sustainability and Management of the Atmospheric Basin of Mexico City's Metropolitan Zone -- in May '95 to discuss ways to save its capital from the plague of devastating pollution. Sponsored by the 25-nation Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (of which Mexico is the only Latin American member), the seminar sought new focuses for protecting the city's environment.

Emissions from its industries and the over 4 million vehicles plying its streets are the bane of Mexico City. Air conditions in the metropolitan area were lower than environmentally acceptable levels on 345 days in 1994.

Mexico's "technological response" to the problem of pollution -- by means of improving fuels and controlling emissions -- has succeeded in bringing down the atmospheric levels of lead. However, problems with the ozone layer and suspended particles remain, which means new programmes and concepts and additional measures are called for.

Measures analysed at the seminar included limits on levels of fuel consumed in Mexico valley, rational management of the atmospheric basin, integration of environmental and urban development policies and improving public transport systems.(IPS)

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