Mexico City is one of the largest urban agglomerates in the World and as such suffers from extreme atmospheric contamination. It contributes 1.5% of the worlds total greenhouse gas emissions. In fact, conditions are so bad that around 4,000 people die every year as a direct result of air contamination and last year the Human Right Commission of the District Federal declared the city in “violation of the right to a healthy environment“.
The project “Sustainable Housing Units” seeks to tackle air pollution with design and engineering measures for residential building, so that residents may one day breathe more easily and see more clearly in a restored and vegetative urban environment.
Over the last decade some major environmental problems have emerged and received considerable coverage in public media. These situations, such as the extinction of many bird species from the contamination levels, have motivated actions from civil society groups, international organization, and more recently, the Mayor’s Office of Mexico City. This latest project seeks to achieve a greener and healthier urban environment for citizens through innovative measures such as the installation of “vertical gardens,” rain water filters, and solar panels in buildings.
The first area of project activity is in “La Valenciana,” located in the zone of Iztapalapa. Here, 10 solar-powered water systems have been installed as well as around 700 square meters of wall area has been transformed into vertical gardens with specialized rock bases to allow water filtration to the subsoil.
As well as providing an aesthetic response to a critical environmental problem, the project activates sustainable business activities in the capital city. Marco Antonio Hern√°ndez, from the company responsible for the trial project in La Valenciana, has confirmed ongoing governmental support for project installations in another thirty zones of the city.
This Mexican initiative realizes the synergy between government policy and support with an emerging sustainable business sector in the Latin American context. It is a practical step towards improving air quality in a city where air contamination is literally suffocating.