Saturday, March 21, 2015

Why We'll be Sucking Smoke for a Long Time

Belch on! An aged truck coughs out smoke in central Bogotá.
Yesterday's El Tiempo carried two tragic articles for those of us who care about breathing clean air.

Our lungs suffer from the poisons spewed out by those smog-belching, decades-old trucks which afflict our avenues and highways. And the government had passed a decree ordering the elimination of those old, often-decrepit machines. However, one of the truckers' demands during their recent strike was the elimination of this rule, which cost them income.

And, the truckers won, preserving their right to continue contaminating us for the duration.

'All policies of limiting the useful life in cargo transport are discarded.'
'School transport in suspense over decree to junk old cars.'
The next time you see one of those white school vans drive past, observe whether it's trailing a stream of smoke and you might be surprised to see how old and dirty many of those vehicles are. But, like the truckers, the school van owners are protesting laws requiring them to retire those old, but profitable, smog belchers.

And expect the government to backpedal on this one, too.

Why do the polluters win these battles? It's simple: Their pocketbooks depend on polluting, and so they make noise. Meanwhile, the other 99% of us who would prefer to breathe clean air, keep quiet.
School vans rest between runs in La Candelaria.
An old truck streams smoke near the Universidad Nacional.
By Mike Ceaser, of Bogotá Bike Tours


Andy Johnson said...

I am not sure if it is true but a taxi driver told me that the small buses would be eliminated by June or July of this year. That would leave just the Transmilenio buses.

If it is true, I think it would make a drastic impact on the pollution.

Miguel said...

Hi Andy,

Thanks for the comment. Yes, they say they'll remove and junk those old buses...but they've been saying so since the 1990s. Some have been removed from circulation, but obviously many have not. Also, the Consejo de Estado recently ruled that the bus companies have been cheating the system to keep the old machines on the road. Mike

Miguel said...

And, yes, removing those old buses would be an advance....But many new cars, as well as the TransMilenio and SITP buses are highly polluting, as well. Mike