A “pre-emergency” alert declared on May 31 for the capital region has been prolonged through at least Thursday, June 1. Driving and industry restrictions are in effect. Cars without green pollution rating stickers (sello verde) whose license plates end in 7, 8, 9, or 0 are not permitted on the roads between the hours of 07:30 and 21:00 (local time). This measure is in effect throughout Santiago province as well as in the communes of Puente Alto and San Bernardo. Additionally, a total ban on all wood-burning stoves and ovens is in place in the Santiago Metropolitan Region.
On a health related note, this pollution could cause eye, nose, and throat irritation and aggravate cardiovascular and respiratory conditions (such as asthma). The government is advising residents against all outdoor exercise. Vulnerable individuals - e.g. children, seniors, pregnant women, and people suffering from asthma and other respiratory issues - should be particularly cautious and consider wearing masks covering the nose and mouth when outdoors.
This alert could be renewed again or intensified in the coming days if air quality does not improve.
Even during normal times air pollution levels are generally high in Santiago, home to seven million inhabitants (40 percent of the national population), due to the city’s location deep in a valley in the foothills of the Andes and high car use. Population levels tend to rise in the (southern hemisphere) fall and winter period. A mobile telephone application called “Aire Santiago” is available (in Spanish) for download and informs users of air pollution levels and associated restrictions in real-time. It has become one of the most-downloaded apps in the country.
Individuals present in the capital region are advised to limit outdoor activity and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities.