Network Updates / Bogota, Colombia / 2019-11-11

In Bogotá, health, environment and transport sectors tackle air quality together:

The environment, transport and health sectors in the capital city jointly tackle air pollution, while harmonizing action across national, regional and local government actors

Bogota, Colombia
Shape Created with Sketch.
Reading Time: 2 minutes

Bogotá, Colombia’s capital city of over 8 million citizens, joined the BreatheLife campaign on World Environment Day with a distinctly coordinated approach: its participation is led by the city’s government representatives for health, environment and mobility, as well as the head of its public transport system.

It’s reflective of Bogotá efforts in recent years to controlling air pollution in the growing metropolis, with responsibility for air quality monitoring and legislation— which feed into its ten-year plan to decontaminate its air— shared among relevant district government agencies.

Responsibility for laws and regulations that govern air quality standards and classifications of environmental sources, and establish the Bogota Air Quality Index and levels of air quality corresponding of prevention, warning or emergency, for example, are spread out across different authorities, including the Mayor’s office.

This integration of sectors is complemented by “vertical” coordination with national and regional governments.

All relevant institutions in Colombia’s capital city of over 8 million citizens work together under a collaborative framework to improve air quality for better public health, one that also integrates the efforts of local, regional and national administration.

“In Bogota, the highest authorities in health, transport and environment and our public transport provider work together to address air pollution in our city and safeguard the health of our citizens,” said Enrique Peñalosa, Mayor of Bogota.

Under an upcoming Pact for Air Quality, the different authorities will commit to working in coordination to establish air pollution reduction strategies in Bogotá. The pact includes the following actions, to be developed jointly with relevant public and private sector actors:

• Cargo and special transport management;
• Fleet renewal and increasing efficiency of the integrated public transport system of Bogotá, District Capital;
• Improvement of fuel quality;
• Entry into operation of Transmicable, Bogota, a gondola lift system that expands the coverage of the city’s public transport system, TransMilenio;
• Strengthening non-motorized transport;
• Monitoring and management of air quality;
• Urban environment management;
• Search for international cooperation; and
• Management and transfer of knowledge.

There is a particular focus on the transport sector because it is the largest contributor to air pollution in Bogotá, a major road transportation hub.

According to the city, national regulations governing fuel quality have directly influenced air quality at the local level through a steep reduction in the sulfur content in diesel— an important measure, given that the number of vehicles running on diesel fuel in Bogotá grew dramatically in the ten years to 2017. 

Coordination across different levels of government is already underway in the form of a 2015 agreement that Bogotá signed with the Regional Bureau of Air Quality Bogotá-Cundinamarca, within the framework of the National Policy of Prevention and Control of Air Pollution.

In the agreement, Bogotá commits to harmonizing the action plans of national, departmental and local public entities for the prevention and control of air pollution and its effects on the health of the population.

In 2018, the framework prioritized the following actions:

• Exchange of information to complement regional air quality monitoring;
• Unification of criteria for regional emissions inventory;
• Development of joint control operations of fixed sources; and
• Development of joint control operations of mobile sources in Bogota-Cundinamarca limits.

In 2019, the initiative continues the consolidation of joint work among the local, regional and national administration for the improvement of air quality in Bogotá.

Follow Bogotá’s clean air journey here.

Banner photo by young shanahan/CC BY 2.0