Updates on the geography of Mexico City (26 March 2011)

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Mar 262011
 

This is the second in our series of periodic round-ups of news items related to the geography of Mexico City. The link to our first update in the series is Updates on the geography of Mexico City (13 December 2010)

Water meters in Mexico City

Ooska News reports that the SACM (Sistema de Aguas de la Ciudad de México, Mexico City Water System) plans to replace, repair or install 600,000 water meters for Mexico City before the start of the rainy season. About 300,000 of the 600,000 meters will be repairs or replacements; the other half are new installations. The cost of new meters will be added to the property’s water bill. The city government is considering how to help low-income residents meet the necessary payments. Residents living in parts of the city which as yet have no meters pay a fixed annual charge for water irrespective of the amount they consume. Having meters installed, so flows and consumption can be monitored, is absolutely essential as the SACM tries to tackle the problem of leaks in the water pipes supplying homes in the city. Some analysts estimate that as much as 25% of the water entering the system is lost through leaky pipes before it reaches its intended end-user.

Plastics recycling in Mexico City

Plastics recycling is one component of Mexico City’s waste separation program, which was established in response to the Solid Waste Law passed in 2003. Members of Mexico’s National Association of the Plastics Industry (a nationwide grouping of plastics makers) are investing $150 million in a pilot project to boost plastics recycling in Mexico City. The project seeks to increase the volume of plastic waste collected and reused by at least 10%.

Currently in Mexico City, only 12% of the 13,000 tons of waste generated each day is plastic, even though, by volume, plastics account for between 30 and 40% of all the waste generated.

Assuming the pilot project proves to be a success, the plastics collection and reuse program could be extended to the remainder of the country, leading to the possibility of doubling current recycling rates to around 35% of the 6 million tons of all kinds of plastics used each year.

Updates on the geography of Mexico City

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Dec 132010
 

We start this periodic round-ups of news items related to the geography of Mexico City with an update on Mexico City’s population. The preliminary results of the 2010 census show that the Mexico City Metropolitan Area (MCMA) has a population of 20,137,152. This includes the Federal District with its 8,873,017 inhabitants. The Federal District has grown only slowly since 2000, but the State of Mexico, much of which is included in the MCMA, grew five times as quickly (its growth was 1.59%/yr between 2000 and 2010).

New electric Nissan taxis

Several hundred all-electric taxis will soon be circulating in Mexico City. In the second half of 2011, 500 Nissan “Leaf”s (Leading, Environmentally friendly, Affordable, Family cars) will be added to the city’s massive taxi fleet. When fully charged, the Leaf has a range of up to 160km, with zero emissions of CO2. Nissan is reported to be installing recharging stations in locations such as supermarket and restaurant parking lots. The Leaf is expected to go on sale to the public in 2012.

Fines for using non-biodegradable plastic bags

Mexico City authorities have dropped the possibility of  jail time, but kept stiff fines for anyone using plastic bags that are not bio-degradable. Store owners and employees are no longer allowed to give away non-biodegradable plastic bags. Repeat offenders will face fines of up to 9,250 dollars.

Levies on excess garbage

Watch out big business! Mexico City authorities have announced a crack-down on the solid wastes generated by large commercial enterprises, including shopping centers. About 2,000 places will be inspected; they currently pay about 1.2 million dollars (15 million pesos) a year in excess waste fees, but the city believes many are abusing the system, which is based on self-reporting. Mexico City’s solid waste regulations classify anyone disposing of more than 50 kg a day as a “high volume waste generator.” Anyone in this category must pay for every kilogram of waste beyond the basic 50 kilos. The current rates (per kilogram) are 0.50 pesos for construction materials, 1.00 pesos for urban waste, 1.83 pesos for plant-related waste and 2.20 pesos for wastes requiring special handling. Businesses will be audited by city inspectors to ensure that the amount of waste they produce matches what they officially report, and fines will be levied for non-compliance.

The geography of Mexico City is analyzed in chapters 21, 22 and 23 of  Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico. Ask your library to buy a copy of this handy reference guide to all aspects of Mexico’s geography today! Better yet, order your own copy…

Nov 292010
 

According to the Environment Ministry, Mexico generates 94,800 tons of garbage a day, which equates to 34.6 million tons a year. Of this total, 53% is organic and 28% recyclable (paper and cardboard 14% of total garbage, glass 6%, plastics 4%, metals 3% and textiles 1%). The remaining 19% of total waste is comprised of non-recyclable construction waste, leather, rubber and miscellaneous other items.

Authorities claim that 87% of all wastes are now collected but, unfortunately, only about 60% ends up in authorized landfills.

Previous posts about garbage”

Mexico’s environmental trends and issues are examined in chapter 30 of Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico. Ask your library to buy a copy of this handy reference guide to all aspects of Mexico’s geography today! Better yet, purchase your own copy…

Oct 012010
 

This is the first of an occasional series of short news briefs relating to the geography of Mexico. This post focuses on three developments in Mexico City.

Biodegradable plastic bags
In 2009, Federal District authorities introduced regulations aimed at forcing shopkeepers to avoid using any non-biodegradable plastic bags. However, the regulations could not be enforced until they included precise definitions of precisely which plastics are or are not biodegradable, and clarifying whether the regulations apply to supermarket packaging or only bags used by merchants at points-of-sale.

However, some so-called biodegradable plastics may be no better for the environment than non-biodegradable bags, depending in part on the methods used for their disposal.

Mexican scientists have recently developed a new corn-based form of plastic, suitable for biodegradable bags and most other plastic items. Hopefully, scientists and policy makers will eventually agree on the best way forward.

Female-only taxis

pink-taxiIn September, several hundred, pink, female-only taxis were introduced to Mexico City. A limited number of female-only taxis had already been operating (since 2009) in the city of Puebla. The fares for users of pink taxis are identical to the fares for other taxis.

An urban superhighway takes shape

Construction is about to get under way on extending the second tier above one of Mexico City’s busiest routes, the Periférico. The construction will eventually form part of an urban expressway crossing Mexico City from north to south, linking the existing highways to Cuernavaca, Toluca and Querétaro. At least some parts of the expressway, expected to be completed by 2012, will be toll routes.

The geography of Mexico City is analyzed in chapters 21, 22 and 23 of  Geo-Mexico: the geography and dynamics of modern Mexico. Ask your library to buy a copy of this handy reference guide to all aspects of Mexico’s geography today! Better yet, order your own copy…

Higher % of Mexico City wastewater to be treated

 Mexico's geography in the Press  Comments Off on Higher % of Mexico City wastewater to be treated
Dec 292009
 

A group headed by Mexican infrastructure firm Ideal SAB has been awarded the 730-million-dollar contract to build and operate a sewage treatment plant in Atotonilco in the state of Hidalgo. According to the National Water Commission, the plant will treat up to 23 cubic meters of Mexico City’s wastewater a second, increasing the proportion of the city’s wastewater that receives treatment from 6% to almost 60%.

[relates to chapter 23]