An eternal fight against pollution

The industrial revolution was a social and economic change that happened between the XVIII and XIX centuries, mostly in Great Britain and later it expanded all throughout Europe. This revolution impacted manufacturing processes by the introduction of the steam engine and mass production in factories.



Although this revolution had a huge impact on the creation of wealth amongst western societies, there was a cost which had to be paid in order to use the steam machine. The most common fuel for this process was coal. When coal burned it would release a lot of energy that boiled water and then with the steam it moved a series of mechanisms that would power up the machine, since coal is fossilized carbon, and after combustion it would release huge amounts of CO2 ( carbon dioxide ) into the air.

The environmental repercussions of coal burning didn’t take long to be noticed, the combination of the smoke from the factories and the fog created heavy thick black clouds called smog that started causing respiratory problems and even led to deaths, whilst contaminated water from machines and factories was dumped into rivers, contaminating the water and provoking diseases such as cholera.

Nowadays we live under heavy health protocols that are enforced onto the factories by the government in order to preserve the environment stability and the health of the citizens, but not only factories are being accounted nowadays for the pollution that is created in big cities, the use of the automobile also plays a major role in the emission of CO2 into the atmosphere.

 Mexico City, one of the biggest urban areas in the world and formally a very heavily polluted city, has been taking steps in order to improve the emissions of CO2 and other greenhouse gases into the atmosphere with social programs such as Vehicular verification, Eco-Transport, like Metrobus, and the implementation of the Ecobici, a system of bicycle rentals for transportation around the centre of the city. These programs and more have led to Mexico City being awarded recognition from the C40 group for air quality.

Once a city whose pollution was apparently without solution has now, thanks to the implementation of well designed long term policies, emerged as an aspiring environmental modern city that keeps on working to improve itself day by day.

 By Iván Aragón 


11 thoughts on “An eternal fight against pollution

  1. Ivan, I liked that you approached some of the measures Mexico has taken in order to reduce the air pollution of the city. Because in other articles we have only criticized what we have not done with the pollution issue we have in the country. I liked your optimisim and I agree , there is a long way to follow in order to reduce the polluiton in Mexico but we have to start by something. And the most important we have to believe that we can really make a change.

  2. Although something is being done to diminish CO2 emissions, I think we could do more. As individuals we are not carrying out correctly our task, big changes start with small actions.

  3. A thought-provoking article. Ivan raises a great point, that pollution is not irreversible. The examples of London, and more recently of Mexico City, show that through appropriate policies we are able to cut down pollution dramatically. We must continue to prioritise measures which reduce pollution, whilst maintaining policies that promote economic growth, because although we need a clean environment, we also must alleviate people from poverty, which is most easily done through growing the economy and providing jobs and incomes.

  4. I think it was a great article and your approach is good but what long term solutions would be appropriate to solve the problem rather than just postpone it?
    Daniela S.G

  5. I liked the focus you took on air pollution.

    But there’s something that caught my eye, which is regarding the measures. You mentioned, for example, the Ecobici program which is being undertaken by the city, and let me tell you that I consider it a good iniciative and an excellent way to incentivate the population to take care about the environment and to help reduce the CO2 Emissions, but the thing is that not everybody uses the Ecobici, and that maybe people prefers to get to work by car than using a bike either because it does not provide a good image for the costumers and so on and so forth.

    So I think that maybe the government should behave a little bit more strict or find a different way to approach to the people and say “Hey, use the bike, it’s cheaper to use and it does not pollute” besides from pointing out the advantages of using a bike instead of a car, for example it is definately easier to “park” a bike rather than a car and also it is easier to get to different places because you can ride a bike where you would not be able to drive a car.

    I know that these are long-term solutions to this problem, but I think that eventhough they’re going to take some time to start giving results maybe the government could think of a way to re-design these solutions to make them more efficient and make all of the people undertake them.

  6. I liked a lot your article and i think that we are doing our best in order to reduce the pollutant emissions. Indeed I’m not agree with Jorge, I was living in the D.F during the vacations and almost all the people uses the ecobici even to go to work, they use it a lot. I tried to get my ecobici card and they told me that I was on time because the system was almost overpopulated. There are a lot of people targeted.

    I like your optimism but I think that is not enough, I think that there is a lot of information about this problem in Mexico, but there is a lack of reaction about it.

  7. I like the way you close your article, and also the explanation you gave us about coal and the way it started to damage the world, eventhough you started talking about other parts of the world i like how you join all the problems with Mexico, and the examples of smog, fog and CO2.

  8. I love the optimistic approach but i dont think it is nearly enough for a city as populated as mexico to turn the tides and become a green city.

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