Water and air pollution has always existed, but since the industrial revolution in England in the late seventeenth century it became a critical issue affecting the health and quality of life of many citizens, which not only affected England, but spread worldwide to America in the late nineteenth century.
During the decade of the sixties in Mexico the water and air pollution led to a poor quality of life, due to the very bad quality of air in the Valley of Mexico, and the diminishing quantity of aquifers due to pollution of rivers. The underground reserves of aquifers have been utilized and the Valley of Mexico has been sinking up to 30 centimeters per year due to the pollution coming from factories, which results in pollutants being dispersed in the seas and rivers, and also this has caused rivers to be dried out.
The air pollution in Mexico is mainly due to the burning of fossil fuels, especially coal. The growth of cities, which has brought an increase of cars and intense industrial activities, has also led to water pollution due to chemical and petroleum waste in rivers and seas, agricultural and livestock waste and domestic waste. These cause sewage, which most frequently affects rivers, whilst mismanagement in wastewater treatment has caused a decrease in water availability in Mexico, placing Mexico in eighty-first place in water availability in the world.
In my opinion Mexico has been affected by unregulated industries and government mismanagement, due to the lack of a plan of action. I mean to say that pollutant emissions generated by factories were not controlled until the contamination became a problem and that the residual waste system, which is poorly planned, has contaminated most of the springs and rivers that supplied both towns as well as cities.
For example, in 1961 in the state of Hidalgo, specifically the village of Huejutla Hidalgo, the main river called el río Tecoluco disappeared. This was because the government gradually turned the river into a wastewater channel, a very sad fact because it was the main river serving the community.
Regarding the air pollution issue, the writer Alfonso Reyes wrote “traveler, you’ve come to the Air Is Clear” referring to the time when Cortes arrived to Tenochtitlan. Until about 50 years ago, air quality in Mexico was good, but the increased use of automobiles and industries has decreased the air quality so much so that there are days when it seems that there is fog in the city, although actually it is pollution. Due to this and the many environmental contingencies, the government has implemented different means of ecological transportation for the masses of the population. This has the purpose of reducing the pollutants emitted to the atmosphere. For example, the Mexico City metro carries approximately 5 million users each day, the metrobus system carries around 450,000 users daily, whilst more recently the use of bicycles in the Federal District has been added to help create a culture of awareness amongst the citizens of the city.