Saturday, December 15, 2012

Where's the Indignation?

Two women leap away as a TransMilenio bus blasts them with  smoke.

When tickets to a football match run out, there's indignation.

When the price of gasoline goes up a few pesos, there's indignation.

when police crack down on illegal street sales, there's indignation.

So, why is it that all kinds of vehicles and industry can poison us, day in and day out, in plain sight, and almost nobody does anything?

I took these photos yesterday of a TransMilenio bus on the misnamed 'Eje Ambiental' in La Candelaria. I don't mean to beat on TM, which, on a per-passenger basis, is probably substantially cleaner than the traditional private buses.

But the fact that TM still employs these 'rolling chimneys' - even tho TM buses are relatively new (the system's only about 12 years old), are contracted by the city government and the buses supposedly use very low sulfur fuel - says to me that nobody is controlling pollution here at all - and that all official promises about fighting pollution are just hot air.

As of Jan. 1, EcoPetrol promises to distribute very low sulfur diesel fuel (50 parts per million) nationwide. At present, the company says that it's supplying low sulfur fuel in the large metro areas like Bogotá and Medellin and to urban bus systems including TM.

But buses like this one make me question EcoPetrol's claims. Is there an independent laboratory measuring the fuel's quality?

And, if TM buses REALLY ARE using clean diesel but still manages to pollute so horribly, then we can expect to live with rolling chimneys in Bogotá for a long time. 

By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Gef said...

Mike thanks for the blog! I wish the Gov would fix this black smoke problem. As far a the other things like 'polite citizens' of Bogota ........ Good luck!

Miguel said...

Hi Gef,

Thanks for your comment and phone call. I'm hoping that pressure from the public will move the government to take action against pollution. The laws exist, after all, but they are letra muerta. It's a crime against the people and the environment. Maybe we extranjeros can start the ball rolling.

All the best,


Stuart Oswald said...

I don't see them leaping. ;)