Temas Especiales

05 de Dec de 2020


Emissions, enemies of the environment

PANAMA. Ninety percent of the air we breathe in Panama city is polluted with micro particles from vehicle emissions and a major public ...

PANAMA. Ninety percent of the air we breathe in Panama city is polluted with micro particles from vehicle emissions and a major public education program is in hand.

Panama’s Specialized Analysis Institute (IEA) revealed in a recent study that toxic emission from cars are the leading cause of pollution. Lack of maintenance, reckless driving and low quality fuel are the major culprits.

Industry contributes 10 percent of dirty air.

However bad, the IEA says air quality is moderate to good in residential areas. At least at home we are "moderately" safe.

The study points to three critical areas, San Miguelito, Transistmica way and Paitilla. These three hot spots concentrate the highest concentration of automobiles, and of course more cars mean more emissions.

Since 1996 the IEA has been conducting an air quality test every three and six months from six monitoring points, San Miguelito, Curundu, Hipodromo, Casco Viejo, Curundu, Corozal and the University of Panama.

Breathing this air can and will make you sick. A health campaign by ANAM says pollutants in car emissions could cause all kinds of health problems.

"When you breathe in this air, micro particles lodge in the lungs and cause loss of air capacity and aging" said Roberto Forte, from ANAM´s environmental quality department.

According to ANAM’s web page, common symptoms of breathing in bad air are cough, red eyes, dizziness, nausea and difficulty breathing. A continuous exposure to emissions will shorten life span.

Oscar Marin, sub director of environmental health from the Health Ministry confirmed ANAM’s campaign; illnesses related to car emissions affect the respiratory system. Children under five are specially at risk.

The poisonous emissions kill not only people, but affect flora, fauna and produce acid rain.

ANAM has presented a law proposal to establish an environmental ruling for car emissions. This document, regulates acceptable levels of micro particles, and registry of emissions. The campaign "Drive and clean your environment" (Maneja y cuida tu ambiente) gives alternatives to modify the population attitude and to promote clean air by using low sulphur fuels, better driving practices, choosing better routes, and using catalytic converters.

Bio fuels represent an option to diminish the pollution caused by car emissions. Since their production is based on organic material the contamination is much less and the price tag is lower.

David Muñoz of the Hydrocarbon Office of Panama, said that bio fuel production is being evaluated in Panama.

Brazil and Colombia are already producing bio fuels.