5/5/2016 The Conversation
On March 15 this year, Mexico City encountered its worst environmental crisis of the last decade. A gray fog, comprising noxious air pollutants, cast a shadow over the sprawling metropolitan area for two days. Vehicles were ordered off the roads, and people were asked to remain indoors.
The solution sought to redress the city’s pollution problem was presented two weeks later and has already attracted considerable attention from the international media. Martín Gutiérrez, head of Mexico City’s environmental agency Comisión Ambiental de la Megalópolis, announced that the city’s residents who own private cars are going back to a program first instituted in 1989 called Hoy No Circula(One Day without a Car). The restrictions on vehicle mobility mean that all privately owned vehicles will be off the roads once a week and on one Saturday a month, from April 5 to June 30.
The government had previously abandoned the program due to its proven inefficiency, and, among the city’s residents, the readoption of Hoy No Circula has been viewed as an unpopular approach to manage Mexico City’s undeniable environmental issues.