Bloody awful air in Santiago (“killer air”?)

I’m a London boy. I grey up on clouds of smoke (albeit not Dickensian-smoke but still…much pollution). Having traveled parts of the world I haven’t often encountered really bad pollution. Santiago has reset my levels.

When running up San Cristobel (the big hill in the centre of Santiago) a few weeks back it was possible to climb above the pollution line and to look down on the smog. As of two days ago my entire run was done under the pollution line. Emily ran also, she had a sharp chest pain for 24 hours after (she’s already on 3 antihistamines a day to de-clog). You get to see the yellow smog all around as you walk at street level.

This report from last year was pretty alarming, being exposed to 5* the WHO’s ‘safe levels’ on a daily basis is somewhat crazy. The numbers this year are ‘better’ as we’re only being exposed to 4* the WHO’s ‘safe levels’ (‘safe’ as in – don’t be exposed above this for more than 24 hours…we get it day in, day out).

Thankfully it is raining today and this weather/pollution site is recording ‘good’ levels (though if the column on the right-side of the lefthand table corresponds to the levels in the other links…who knows what happens at “401-500=Peligroso” [Danger!]).

For the record today (during the rain which massively cleanses the air) El Bosque (near the airport & much of the industry) the level is recorded as 58, out in Las Condes (the nobby area) the recording is 37. I’ll see how that changes over the next week.

You can see at the top of the weather/pollution link under ‘restrictions’ that non-catalyst cars (“No catalíticos”) are being restricted, the number-plates change for tomorrow (“Mañana”). They’ve been restricting cars by segment for the last few weeks. I guess that means that they’re seen to be “doing something” (even though the larger polluters are probably big industry around the city).

In the meantime I look forward to leaving for Argentina in a week, they’ve at least got clean out air there.

Does anyone have links to good real-time pollution statistics here in Santiago? Perhaps recorded back for several years, perhaps also recorded by area?

Update – more links:

Ian is a Chief Interim Data Scientist via his Mor Consulting. Sign-up for Data Science tutorials in London and to hear about his data science thoughts and jobs. He lives in London, is walked by his high energy Springer Spaniel and is a consumer of fine coffees.