San José, Costa Rica, since 1956

Government plans to tackle growing air pollution problem

A mid-May report that found San José´s air quality to be hazardous to your health seems to have finally grabbed the government´s attention.

Following five years of annual studies from the National University (UNA) that show increasing air pollution in the capital, the Oscar Arias administration has signed a series of agreements to bolster the university´s research and act on its findings.

“The idea is for the government to have the data to make decisions,” said Félix Rojas, a researcher with UNA´s Laboratory of Air Quality.

To tackle the problem, the Arias administration and UNA have agreed to create the National Atmospheric Pollutant Monitoring Network, a program that will expand the university´s research and make it the basis for government policy.

The program takes the university´s studies into the capital cities of other neighboring provinces, such as Alajuela to the northwest and Cartago to the east, that make up the greater metropolitan area surrounding the city proper of San José.

UNA´s air quality study released in May found that levels of nitrogen dioxide, the metal manganese and fine-particulate matter exceeded levels recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as relatively safe (TT, May 23).

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