Pollution a concern for Chile’s Copa America

Yahoo! News reports on concerns over levels of pollution in the Chilean host cities of Santiago and Temuco, as the Copa America draws near:

As the Copa America in Chile draws near, concerns hang over Chile about the level of pollution in the host cities and the effect that this may have on the game. Image credit: satit_srihin on freedigitalphotos.net

As the Copa America in Chile draws near, concerns hang over Chile about the level of pollution in the host cities and the effect that this may have on the game.
Image credit: satit_srihin on freedigitalphotos.net

As South America’s football heroes jet into Chile for the Copa America, a dark cloud is hanging over two host cities where air pollution alerts are worrying organizers and fans.

With just days to go to the continental championship which kicks off Thursday, an “environmental emergency” was declared in host city Temuco and a “pre-emergency” in the capital Santiago, where the hosts will face Ecuador in the opening match.

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Under the so-called “pre-emergency,” city officials also suspended physical education classes at schools and recommended citizens refrain from outdoor athletic activities because of concerns over the effects of breathing the contaminated air while exercising.

Temuco declared an emergency two weeks ago because of air pollution — its second this year.
Santiago has declared 10 environmental alerts since the beginning of the year.

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Chile introduced tighter restrictions on air pollution levels this year, meaning even more alerts and emergencies will likely be declared.

The aim is to reduce the health impact on adults and especially children. A government study in 2014 found that 4,000 people a year die prematurely of cardiopulmonary diseases linked to air pollution.

Other studies have shown significant increases in respiratory diseases such as chronic bronchitis, pneumonia and asthma linked to air pollution in Santiago.

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