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Cleaning Up Mexico City

April 10, 2012
Mexico City has a reputation for being one of the dirtiest places on earth. But over the past few decades, it has undergone a massive clean-up effort, putting the levels of air pollution more on par with Los Angeles. Recently, Mexico City has garnered attention for reducing levels of air and water pollution through civic innovation and renewal efforts.

A non-profit in Mexico City, VerdMX, has created vertical green wall art installations that promote environmental awareness (and generate what little oxygen they can). The artist behind the sculptures, Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, views them as measures to “intervene” in the city.

photo by Rodrigo Cruz via the NY Times

Though many residents dismiss the sculptures, others find them attractive, and, if nothing else, providers of shade in a city of pavement.

In addition to non-profits advocating greater environmental art and awareness, individuals and corporations are generating projects to change the face of Mexico City.

  • Luis Duarte started YoReciclo to collect, sort, clean and sell recyclables, which are bountiful given that the city currently only recycles 3.3% of all generated waste.
  • Designer Elías Cattan of Taller 13, an architecture firm in Mexico, has proposed a radical urban transformation project for Mexico City that would restore water bodies and create public space.
  • Companies like Efecto Verde are designing products to support green rooftops. They provide self-sustaining container boxes for easy rooftop installation that require little to no maintenance.

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