The Chilean government has declared an environmental emergency for the Santiago metropolitan area today, Monday, June 22nd, 2015. They have forced 900 industries to shut down today as well as 40% of Santiago’s 1.7 million cars.
The horrible air pollution in Santiago is being blamed on the lack of storm, wind, and rain in Santiago this year. So far, Santiago has received only 1.2 centimeters of rain this year putting them at only 14% of normal precipitation. Ski resorts in the Santiago area have zero snow right now.
“We’re currently facing unusual conditions, with one of the driest Junes in over 40 years as well as really bad air circulation conditions in the Santiago valley in recent days, which boosts the concentration of contamination.” – Chile’sEnvironment Ministry said in a statement today.
This is the first air pollution emergency declared in Santiago since 1999. The current emergency has been issued for 24 hours but may be extended if conditions do not improve.
The population of Santiago has been advised to restrain from outdoor activities. Ironically, Chile is in the midst of the Copa America soccer tournament to see who is the best soccer country in South America. The next game of the Copa America will be played on Wednesday.
Winter temperature have triggered elevated use of wood burning stoves in Santiago which has greatly worsened the smog situation.