Extended Time Pico y Placa Ambiental Makes Life Tough


Felipe Hernandez Martinez

Medellin contamination seen from Mirador de Las Palmas

Felipe Hernandez Martinez, Discoverer Staff

Extended time pico y placa ambiental, was implemented since this Monday, March 18th by the Alcaldia de Medellin to seek air quality improvement; even though this measure was aimed to help, it has severely affected Medellin citizens and the TCS community.

Since March, a 6 digit pico y placa was implemented to counterweight pollution in Medellin that had reached red alert, which meant the air contains cancerous particles. As the initial measure didn’t work, this week, extended times were added. Before it was from 7:00AM – 8:30AM and in the afternoon from 5:30PM to 7:00PM; the extended times are now the following: from 5:00AM – 10:00AM and from 4:00PM to 8:00PM.

I lived in Tucson Arizona, and when we would have pollution problems they would just say don’t breathe air today. At least here they tried to do something about it,” Kurt Garbe, high school english teacher, said.

Even though it might be seen as a extreme restriction, citizens are finding out ways to overcome this situation.

“To solve this, I`m now carpooling with another teacher three days a week,” Bill Beauchamp, the 11th grade Chemistry teacher, said.

It may be a hard situation that can affect the economy and citizens` daily life but it was a change the municipality deemed needed to solve this problem. According to Sistema de Alerta Temprana (Siata) in March, Aburra Valley reported its worst pollution levels and reached red alert for second consecutive year i the same time of the year.

“I think something had to be done; the pollution levels are getting really bad and that would affect everyone`s health,” said Beauchamp.

The ambiental pico y placa is an emergency measure so for the future, Medellin citizens should plan ahead to be able to prevent this and also help with the pollution in the air.

“I already tried to do an aggressive stand against air quality so I either ride my bike or the school bus even though I own a car,” said Garbe.