From Your Car Exhaust to My Window Sill


In New York, our window sills were always covered in a greasy black soot, as if it were the byproduct of gasoline. Here it’s definitely a thick non-greasy dust, which I’m assuming is a smidge better for your ailing lungs — it doesn’t “stick” to them so much. Either way is certainly not great. And since we’re at 7,500 feet, it’s already harder to breathe. I’m somehow immune to either dirty air condition, and have yet to develop a “big city cough.” Although it does seem to irritate my eyes more.

A bright spot, though: After a long p0lluted week, the air miraculously cleared today. It’s warm and clear today. No cough cough cough. (And I don’t own a car so I can definitely put a lot of blame elsewhere…) Air quality here, at times, does seem unbelievably bad, and just when I think I can’t take it anymore, it goes away and the sky becomes the most beautiful shade of blue.

2 thoughts on “From Your Car Exhaust to My Window Sill

  1. Erika says:

    Popo is apparently coughing up soot, so maybe that’s what we’re covered with? Can Popo’s ashes reach us all the way over here?

    Man I love the very concept of living next to an active volcano…

    The air yesterday was incredible (and sadly gone again this morning): the inhabitants of my office building were pressed against the windows, admiring the snow-capped mountains in the distance. Like a postcard, really.

  2. Joy says:

    I’m sure Popo doesn’t help, but I’d hate to blame him. I’m totally in love with him. (You can monitor his daily puffs at:

    We were recently driving back from Toluca (carpooling, of course!) on one of those super-clear days (right after a rainstorm) and I was awestruck at how big Popo is in relation to the city. He literally loomed over us, and was all covered in snow. Gorgeous.
    I read this article awhile back, and it attributes the pollution to several causes (besides car emissions): industrial pollutants in the north that are carried by the prevailing winds, burning of old cornfields to plant new corn, and all the people living in sub-standard housing (poor people) using wood/coal to heat their homes when it’s really cold.

    Also, the humongous “Neza” neighborhood was built entirely on an old lakebed that’s super dusty and is still super dusty.
    This super-science-y report from 2002 ends with a fabulous line (you can pretty much insert any phrase at the very end besides “air pollution” if you want to explain why Mexico functions like it does):

    “Because of private interests, corruption, indulgence, ineptitude and decisions more political than scientific quick improvements have obstructed the fight against air pollution.”

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