Girl Planting seeds

A city suffocating: most polluted city in Americas struggles to change

Every evening through the bitterly cold winter months of June and July, the southern city of Coyhaique, the most populous in the region of Aysén in Chilean Patagonia, is smothered by a thick, fragrant blanket of damp wood smoke that clings to the hillsides.  With the city lying between two mountainous ridges – to the east lies the Pacific Ocean and behind the steep rise on the other side of the valley is Argentina – there is very little wind to sweep the smoke down the valley and away. Instead, heat inversion compresses the cloud into a dense shield that suffocates the city.  A 2018 study by the World Health Organization (WHO) looking at 4,357 cities in 108 countries worldwide showed Coyhaique to have the worst air quality in the Americas – and ranked it 139th unhealthiest in the world.  Read more...



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