Latin America & Caribbean

Chile's Santiago declares smog emergency

View of Santiago de Chile City covered by smog on 21 June, 2015 Image copyright AFP
Image caption Santiago has been shrouded in smog for days

Authorities in Chile's capital Santiago have imposed emergency measures amid rising pollution.

According to city officials, pollution has reached a "critical level".

Under the measures, around 40% of cars with a catalyst and 80% of those without are banned from the streets from 07:30 until 21:00 on Monday.

This June has been the driest since 1968 and the lack of rain has contributed to the poor air quality in the capital, officials say.

Santiago is located in a valley and when there is little wind and no rain, smog can hang over the city of six million inhabitants for days.

'Civic spirit'

Industries considered particularly polluting have also been ordered to stay shut on Monday.

Residents have been urged not to exercise outdoors.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption The smog has been further worsened by people using wood-burning stoves to heat their homes

However, training sessions for teams competing in the Copa America football tournament, which Chile is hosting, are expected to go ahead.

No games are scheduled for Monday.

The first of the quarter-final games will be held in Santiago between Chile and Uruguay on Wednesday.

The authorities called on residents to show their "civic spirit and solidarity" on Monday by reducing pollution to a minimum.

The emergency measures will be in place for 24 hours, but officials can extend them if they deem it necessary.

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