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Cleaning up Mexico City

Vera FreitagJuly 15, 2014

For over two decades, Mexico City has battled to combat air pollution and smog with a slew of measures. And they’re paying off as old exhaust-belching vehicles are phased out and the megacity becomes greener.

Image: DW

Global Ideas: Mexico’s War on Smog

Project goal: Phasing out old and polluting vehicles, reducing emissions and protecting the climate

Implementation: Creating incentives for residents to switch to new, energy-efficient vehicles, for instance, by introducing a scrappage bonus

Size: In recent years, around 35,000-40,0000 vehicles have been scrapped. It’s part of a seven-million-euro program by the International Climate Initiative

In the 1990s, Mexico City was considered one of the world’s dirtiest cities. Industries located within city limits and growing traffic contributed to some of the worst air pollution in the 20-million-strong megacity. But, much has changed since then. With the help of a program called “Pro-Aire,” the city government is trying to clean up the air and raise the quality of life for residents. The program is supported by Germany’s development agency GIZ which is advising the Mexican government on curbing greenhouse gas emissions. The plan involves phasing out polluting cars and modernizing the city's public transport system. And it also includes a measure to create rooftop gardens which absorb carbon and help cool the air.

A film by Vera Freitag