12:59 GMT26 February 2021
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    Increased air pollution in Chile’s capital has forced the authorities to declare an environmental emergency in the Santiago metropolitan area.

    MEXICO CITY (Sputnik) – Increased air pollution in Chile’s capital has forced the authorities to declare an environmental emergency in the Santiago metropolitan area, the country’s Environment Ministry (Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, or MMA) announced on Monday.

    "Currently we are facing unusual conditions, with one of the driest months of June in more than 40 years, as well as bad ventilation conditions recorded in the Santiago basin in recent days, which increases pollutant concentration [in the air]," the ministry said in a statement.

    Restrictions on personal vehicle use will be in place and light-wood heaters will be prohibited throughout the Santiago metropolitan area for 24 hours, according to the ministry.

    The period can be extended if the authorities decide that the environmental conditions have not improved.

    This is the first environmental emergency declared in Santiago since 1999.


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