I took this photo today on Ave. Septima, less than a block from the Ministry of the Environment. The pollution looks pretty bad to us and is causing tremendous damage to bogotanos' health - particularly children, asthmatics and the elderly - is apparently invisible to the officials who are supposed to control it. Check out this video, in Spanish, denouncing pollution in Bogotá. (Video sobre contaminacion en Bogotá.)
I took this photo about one block further north. Behind the second bus's plume of smoke you can see the green iguana symbol of ECO-Petrol, the state oil company which produces our diesel fuel. A few years ago, EcoPetrol promised to provide diesel fuel which met world standards. But, despite record profits, and their insistence that Bogotá's diesel contains only 50 parts per million of sulphur, these rolling chimneys make me doubt it.
And no matter how clean the diesel sold in Bogotá' may be, it won't clean up our air as long the dirty diesel sold in munipalities surrounding the capital continues to be cheaper, due to tax differences. Those who can save a few pesos by filling up outside the city, and then subject all of us to that dirty fuel.
HOPEFULLY the city will phase out the old buses. HOPEFULLY EcoPetrol will match its words with actions and try to make its 'green' image a reality.
Mostly, tho, Bogotá's got to enforce its pollution laws. They are on the books.
For more of the same, check out these videos I took on Calle 19 the other day. I suppose that 19th is a long way to expect the environmental authorities to travel to enforce the law. After all, they'd have to breathe the air outside their offices.
Fighting for the Right to Pollute.
A Toxic Assault on Bogotá's Breathers
In Bogotá, Not All Smoke Is Equal
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours