Air Pollution in Mexico City Leads to Car Restrictions

May 23, 2016

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article. 

1. curb / kɜrb / (v.) – to keep something in check or in control
Example: They are doing all they can to curb the rise in oil prices.

2. measure / ˈmɛʒ ər / (n.) – an action meant to solve a problem
Example: We should take immediate measures against the worsening climate change.

3. exempt / ɪgˈzɛmpt / (v.) – to exclude someone from a requirement
Example: The law exempts people who earn the minimum wage from paying tax.

4. perishable / ˈpɛr ɪ ʃə bəl / (adj.) – referring to something that can decay or decompose quickly
ExamplePerishable goods must be delivered without delay.

5. cityscape / ˈsɪt iˌskeɪp / (n.) – the overall view of a city
Example: Photographers love to take pictures of the cityscape at night.


Read the text below.
Cars are ordered to stay off Mexico City’s roads once a week in an effort to curb the city’s air pollution level.

The Environmental Commission of the Megalopolis, a government agency focused on addressing problems on pollution, announced that all cars would be restricted from city roads once a week. The day in which a car will be restricted depends on the color of its assigned government-issued sticker. The announcement came after ozone levels in the city spiked to almost twice the acceptable level in mid-March, prompting Mexico City officials to take emergency measures.

Each car would also be restricted from the roads one Saturday every month depending on its license plate number. The restrictions exempt trucks that deliver perishable goods, school buses, public transportation vehicles, and electric cars. The said restrictions were imposed on April 5 and will last until the end of June, when summer rains are expected to clear the smog blanketing the cityscape.

Mexico City’s geographical features make the city prone to experiencing high levels of air pollution. The city lies within a valley and is surrounded by mountains, which can trap air pollutants during winter and spring. These mountains also allow very little wind, which could have easily blown polluted air out of the city.

The pollution highly affected the city’s residents. Many people resort to covering their noses with scarves or masks as they walk in smog-covered streets. Those with respiratory illnesses   like asthma were also advised to stay indoors, especially in the afternoon when the ozone levels are the highest. Students are also kept indoors during break time.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.  

Discussion A

·         Do you think that the temporary car bans will be effective in reducing pollution? Why or why not?
·         Should the ban be exclusive to privately-owned cars? Why or why not?

Discussion B

·         Describe how the lifestyle of a person living in a polluted city could be like.
·         What are long-term changes that a community can make to fight pollution? 

May 23, 2016