Chile’s run to the Copa America semifinals has been another bright spot for the nation’s soccer fans, but is it making the country’s longstanding air-pollution problem worse?
Some observers in Santiago think so.
The 7-0 win against Mexico may have inspired some Chilean soccer fans to celebrate the blowout victory with barbecues. The emanating smoke may be a contributing factor in the increased air pollution recorded in Santiago and some southern Chilean cities over the weekend, authorities said, according to the Associated Press.
Along with barbecues, traffic congestion and burning firewood were also named as contributing pollutants.
A chart published in an article by the newspaper La Tercera andposted on Twitter by a government official showed a spike in poor air quality around matches. In the article, the official, Claudio Orrego, said soccer matches were well known to be a contributing factor in air pollution, causing one in every four air-quality alerts since 2014.
Scientists studying the problem can take some new measurements tonight. Chile plays Colombia in the semifinals on Wednesday night in Chicago. And it will have another match this weekend, either in Saturday’s third-place game or Sunday’s final.