Santiago Faces Smog Alert for Second Day in a Row
SANTIAGO — For a second day in a row, Santiago authorities have declared an Environmental Alert for the Metropolitan region due to the air quality. The alert is in effect from 7:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and covers the entire Santiago Metropolitan region, including San Bernardo.
Vehicles with license plates ending with 3, 4, 5, or 6 without a green seal sticker are banned from driving in the Santiago Metropolitan region today. The use of home fireplaces is also banned during this period.
This is the ninth such alert this year for the region.
It is not just the Santiago Metropolitan Region that faces air quality problems. Pollution levels throughout Chile are up to three times the maximum safe level.
In 2011, the World Health Organization (WHO) released a database on air quality which revealed that 13 Chilean cities have reached dangerous levels of pollution. The study included data from nearly 1,100 cities across 91 countries and including capital cities and cities with more than 100,000 inhabitants.
Though many people assume that the capital has the worst air quality in Chile, Santiago only averages about 25 micrograms of “fine particulate matter” per cubic meter of air. Rancagua, Talca, Curico, Temuco, Valdivia and Coyhaique all regularly measure more than 40 ug/m.
In comparison, the World Health Organization has a recommended level of 10 ug/m. The United States has set 15 ug/m as its standard.