This piece was cross-posted at SpanglishBaby.
Once upon my life I lived in South Beach only blocks away from the turquoise Caribbean Sea. One day, I got tired of the calmness and beauty of it all and decided I was ready to embrace a bit of chaos in my life. You know, wanting to grow up and all that. This was before I hit my Thirties.
So, I sold everything I had, packed my bags and moved to Mexico City. Just like that. Against everyone´s advice that the city would crush my ambitions and dreams. What they didn´t know is that I needed to be crushed.
What I didn´t realize at the time is that air quality is not to be taken for granted. I had never lived anywhere where pollution was a problem, so I really took clean air for granted.
I lived the best and worst years of my life in Mexico City. I met my husband there. I found my own soul there. I grew up. This story is not a negative account about Mexico City, it´s about the fact that I learned that the air you breathe is determines the quality of your health.
Because I spent so many years breathing the air of one of the most polluted cities in the world, I learned how difficult it is to constantly wake up to a nose so stuffed you can´t breathe. Blood in my nose was not something I was used to, but it was an everyday occurrence.
On really bad days when there was tons of traffic and no wind to drive the smog cloud over the mountain ranges, you feel short of breathe (also due to the altitude, until you acclimate) and you can taste the smog in your tongue. It tastes and smells like dirt and oil.
I got used to the fact that older-model cars have one day out of the week when they can´t drive, the “Hoy No Circula” regulation. This is done to try to eliminate the number of cars being driven and lower air pollution. It helps, but not quite.
One of the biggest reasons we left the city and moved closer to the beach was because we couldn’t stand the idea of one day raising kids in such, such dirty air. Plus, I just couldn’t stand waking up congested and bloody.
We now live in one of the worst polluted cities in the U.S., but it is still not at the level it is in Mexico City, partly due to the fact that the smog is blown away to the beach and doesn’t just hover over like it does in D.F.
I know what dirty air tastes, smells and feels like. I don’t want it here. I don’t want it for my girl.
If you don’t want it for your children, I urge you to join us in protecting the Clean Air Act. Find out more here.