Mario Molina wants to clean Mexico’s air

I recently subscribed to Courrier International, a French weekly newspaper which translates and publishes articles from over 900 international newspapers. Recently it proposed an article on Mario Molina, the Mexican Nobel prize.

This is how I came to read about today’s story in Nature magazine : ” Molina’s great challenge is to help Mexico City to reach its goal of becoming the greenest megacity in Latin America. It is a tall order.”

The full article is ripe with interesting ideas that could be replicated in cities of the developed and developing nations around the world.

Here are some extracts of the article :

From the 1980s to the late 1990s, the city had phased out the use of leaded petrol and had reduced sulphur levels in diesel fuel, while shifting power plants and industry away from diesel and fuel oil towards cleaner-burning natural gas.

It had also phased in the use of catalytic converters and other pollution-reduction technologies for new vehicles.

(…) The air-sampling campaigns showed that, contrary to expectations, VOCs rather than nitrogen oxides control how much ozone forms above the city.

With that in mind, the authorities are expanding the metropolitan area’s pollution regulations to also target VOC emissions from specific sources.

(…) It supports expansions in public transport, more mixed-use neighbourhoods that allow people to live close to their work, changes to the tax code to discourage sprawl and ways to integrate planning with the various levels of government.

Molina and his team are producing a series of regional sustainability studies, the first of which is expected early next year.

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