“My nephew was eight years old when he stepped in the ‘munha’ [charcoal dust] and burned his legs up to the knees,” said Angelita Alves de Oliveira from a corner of Brazil’s Amazonia that has become a deadly hazard for local people.
Mexican cities with populations of more than 500,000 face serious obstacles in monitoring air quality and reducing air pollution, but as of July local authorities will be required to do both, and to submit mandatory reports on their efforts to the federal government.
As usual, midtown Manhattan is packed with whisper-quiet cars and trams while thousands walk the streets listening to the birds of spring sing amongst the gleaming, grime-free skyscrapers in the crystal-clear morning air.
In a megacity like the Mexican capital, plagued by air pollution and traffic jams, carsharing and carpooling initiatives offer obvious advantages in addition to the economic benefits enjoyed by users.
The Coatzacoalcos river basin in southern Mexico is so polluted that you can sense the mercury in the air, feel it and breathe it, and the population living in the area is only too aware of its undesirable neighbours: refineries and petrochemical complexes that emit this toxic element into the air and water.
With Barack Obama’s re-election last month as U.S. president, key environmental protections escaped a likely Republican chopping block, and new regulations are expected when his second term begins in January.
The planet can be cooled a whopping 0.5 degrees C with fast action to reduce air pollution from coal-fired power plants, gas fracking, diesel trucks and biomass burning, recent studies show.