Construction Boom Creates Air Pollution in Monterrey, Mexico

While the best-known pollution in Mexico is Mexico City's air, which mainly comes from the combustion of vehicle fuel, it's not the only place with a problem or the only kind of pollution in circulation posing a serious risk to human health.

Mexico's third biggest city Monterrey is located in the northern state of Nuevo Leon. Like many other northern and central cities in Mexico, Monterrey is in the midst of a major construction boom to meet a burgeoning population and a housing shortage, especially for young, working class families. According to José Luis Tamez, director of the state's Natural Resource and Environment Agency, urban sprawl is expanding in the Monterrey metropolitan area at a rate of 10 acres per day on average. Last year, nearly 4,000 acres of land was bulldozed for new subdivisions.In the excavation of lands for new construction, heavy duty machinery is dislodging huge quantities of dust which is then spread around the city by wind. Some of the dust particles, or particulate matter, are less than 10 micrometers in size, too small for the nose and throat to filter. Those PM10 particles can travel the airways to the bronchi and lungs and cause health problems. (PM10 is also produced in the combustion of high-sulfur diesel fuels.) According to Tamez, for every hectare (or every 2.5 acres) developed, 2,000 metric meters of rubble and dirt is moved. Tamez's agency is trying to crack down on developers to get them to be more conscientious when working with such sensitive materials, but it seems that the construction boom is happening too fast for them to clamp down, literally, on the pollution.:: Via Planeta Azul (Spanish link)

Tags: Air Pollution | Construction | Mexico

Best of TreeHugger