August 26, 2010

Sao Paulo Pollution

Yesterday we went to Sao Paulo to do some things for the dual citizenship process. We were only there for a few hours but by the time we left for Santos our sinuses were bothering us and our throats were sore, because of the air pollution. The air has been drier than normal and the humidity very low, and thus the air pollution in Sao Paulo is much worse. Every time the humidity goes down many people there get sick, and they hope it will rain to improve and "wash" the air. Today I read on the internet that the air in Sao Paulo is the dirtiest in all of Brazil, which is no surprise to us, since we lived there for 3 years and had many problems with it. One of the problems is that there are over 6 millions cars in Sao Paulo, and it will be over 7 million in the near future. Another problem is that even though there supposedly are laws regulating emissions in cars and trucks, there is little or no enforcement. You can literally feel sick driving next to trucks, and many emit huge amounts of black smoke and pollutants. The internet article quoted the World Health Organization as saying that the air in Sao Paulo is 10 times more polluted than acceptable levels. It also said that breathing the air there is like smoking 2 cigarettes per day. Although the government tries to claim that things are getting better, this continues to be a huge health problem for the residents of Sao Paulo, including many of our friends there.

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