Red Hot Chile Cyclists
Officials in Santiago, Chile, are struggling to deal with the city’s dirty air, so severe that it rivals the notorious pollution in Mexico City and Sao Paulo. The problem, caused mainly by auto exhaust and industrial emissions, has grown along with the nation’s economy, which has expanded 7 percent per year in the last decade. On bad air days, schools in the city are banned from holding physical education classes outside, hospital visits increase markedly, and drug stores do a booming business in surgical face masks. Bicyclists in Santiago have formed the “Furious Cyclists Movement,” which stages monthly street invasions to urge the government to build bike paths. Chilean President Ricardo Lagos is considering the unpopular move of banning private cars from city streets when pollution levels are high.