Wednesday, February 9, 2011


For the past week or, a strange set of climatological circumstances has settled on top of Spain. High humidity with no rain, almost no wind, and clear skies with mild temperatures (and I believe low pressure, but don't quote me on that). However, this has brought about a curious side effect, one that has been on the news quite a lot the last couple of days. 

You see, because of the weather conditions, the pollution caused by cars, factories and all other type of urban sources has NOT been dissipating. Quite the contrary, it has been accumulating for over a week, and in cities like Barcelona and, more importantly, Madrid, the situation has been pretty extreme. Video footage from outside the cities show a clear cover of smog all around and through them. Warnings were issued for people with health conditions, and all that. 

I live in Valencia, which is a much smaller city by comparison (population around 1 and a half million), and I thought it wouldn't affect me much. However, just the other day when I went to walk my dog at night, I started to notice it. There was a very thick fog that wouldn't let you see very far, more so than normal, and a distinctive ashy smell in the air. At least here and in Barcelona, the cities are right next to the sea, which I can imagine plays a role in dissipating all this, but I can imagine it's much worse in Madrid.

In the end, though, this smog cloud has a silver lining. It seems that some of the bigger cities are going to start implementing some restrictions to curb down the pollution. Still too early for any results, but in the long run this is probably going to raise awareness and public perception towards the issue.

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