The country’s capital has spent the past decade cleaning up its environmental act with a series of policies aimed at reducing air pollution. But few other Mexican cities were following its lead. Today, numerous metropolitan areas in Mexico — none as big as the sprawling Valley of Mexico, or as notorious for smog — have grown into the very same problem. Industrial, fast-growing cities like Monterrey, Guadalajara, Tijuana and Ciudad Juarez now face serious air pollution problems, say analysts.
But unlike Mexico City, these smaller big cities neither have the monitoring capabilities to inform the public when the air gets dangerously contaminated nor the public policies in place to do something about curbing emissions. “It’s not just a problem for Mexico City anymore,” said Gabriela Alarcon, research director of urban development for the Mexican Institute for Competitiveness (IMCO).