The Mexican state of Jalisco joins the BreatheLife campaign with a comprehensive 11-point plan for improving air quality and fighting climate change in its eight major cities and 33+ towns and communities, with around 7.8 million residents total. Guadalajara, Mexico’s second largest city and Jalisco’s capital, is at the forefront.
Guadalajara is home to 1.5 million people, and close to 5 million in the metropolitan area. The city has seen expansive growth in population and infrastructure over the last two decades. Unfortunately, these developments have also caused more pollution.
On 1 out of 3 days, air quality in Guadalajara does not meet established health standards. Respiratory conditions such as asthma, acute respiratory infections, and myocardial infarction have increased, leading to 500 deaths per year. It’s estimated that each person in the city spends an average of 1,500 pesos per year on problems related to air pollution.
Most of these problems can be traced to motor vehicles, which emit 96 percent of the city’s air pollution. Today, there are 3 million cars on the road in Guadalajara, twice as many as in 2000. While the average car is about 14 years old, a small subset of vehicles are causing the biggest share of the pollution.
In response, Jalisco is updating their vehicle registration process to get high-polluting vehicles off the road. The new process will utilize modern technology to maintain records, apply more rigorous testing procedures, and impose higher penalties on drivers who avoid testing and registration for their vehicles. The government is working with existing vehicle testing centers to upgrade their systems.
These efforts are just one aspect of Jalisco’s 11-point plan for cleaner air. Another initiative is the “Green Plate” program, which offers a distinctive license plate and state-subsidized financial incentives to all electric and hybrid vehicles. Jalisco is the first state to implement this program.
Another program will reduce school traffic by increasing the use of school buses. Participating schools will see car trips reduced by 50 percent — improving both the environment and neighborhood traffic.
Jalisco will also subsidize the use of solar heaters. This initiative benefits the local manufacturing industry and will keep hundreds of tons of CO2 pollution out of the air. Families with solar heaters will save up to 80 percent on gas consumption at home.
Finally, Jalisco is in the process of creating the largest green fund in Mexico. The fund will fight climate change and improve air quality, practice sustainable land management, restore environmental services, provide environmental education and more.