Industrial activity, the increased vehicle fleet or the use of certain conventional heating systems favors the growth and welfare of the inhabitants of major cities. However, if they cause increased atmospheric contamination then measures to fight them will become indispensable.
The thing is that Santiago is frequently under threat from air pollution, thanks to its particular geographic location surrounded by mountain chains. A series of measures guarantees the health of its over 6 million inhabitants.
It is enough for one of the nine monitoring stations in the city to detect potentially harmful levels of suspended particulate matter for restrictions to immediately be put in place on the use of vehicles, the operation of almost 900 fixed sources of emissions, mainly industrial ones, and the use of wood-fired domestic heating systems and the burning of agricultural waste outside the city.
Temuco, the capital of the Araucania Region, also tends to be affected by air pollution during the winter months. The cause is the burning of humid wood for heating. For this reason programs to certify dry firewood have been implemented, along with incentives for renewing heating equipment and for insulating homes.
Reserves and parks
The mountains and the sea are Chile’s natural borders. These geographic conditions created an optimal habitat for millennial tree species and native fauna. The ecosystems provide the country with added value. The state is aware of this and in the mid-1980s it passed the law creating a National System for the Protection of Wilderness Areas, which is administered by the National Forestry Corporation, Conaf.
Citizens in action
Civil society also organizes and manifests itself in favor of environmental protection. The people share a growing desire to preserve the rich diversity of landscapes, flora and fauna in Chile, in addition to the valuable architectural heritage of the cities founded in the 16th century. There are at least 20 nongovernmental organizations (NGO) that are undertaking visible and ongoing activities, branches of renowned international organizations, and other local ones that contribute to raising citizen awareness.