Mexico City Essay, Research Paper Mexico City Site and Situation: Mexico City is the largest city in Mexico. It is located in the south central part of the country in the Disuto Federal (Federal District). Mexico City is situated in the Valley of Mexico, a highland basin at an elevation of about 2350 m and is bounded by mountains on three sides.
Mexico City Essay, Research Paper
Site and Situation: Mexico City is the largest city in Mexico. It is located in the south central part of the country in the Disuto Federal (Federal District). Mexico City is situated in the Valley of Mexico, a highland basin at an elevation of about 2350 m and is bounded by mountains on three sides. Much of Mexico City is built on the former bed of Lake Texcoco which is spongy and prone to settling. It also lies along a major east and west geological fault line. Approximate distances from Mexico City to the following are; Toronto; 2030 miles, Los Angeles; 1550 miles, Vancouver; 2450 miles, and Paris; 5220 miles.
Historical Background: Legends relate that an eagle eating a snake landed on a cactus (Aztec) on a barren island near the southwest shore of Lake Texcoco and so began the marking for a new city. The Aztecs began the development of Tenochtitlan on a sacred site in 1325. On a nearby island another Indian group began Tlaltelolco in 1327. By the time the Spaniards arrived in 1519, Tenochtitlan had forcibly incorporated Tlatelolco and had been filled in the lagoon between the two towns. The Spaniards raised the Aztec capital and on that site began to erect Mexico City in 1521. The new Spanish city extended to the south and west as a gridiron of square blocks divided into house lots. Mexico City remained Spanish until Mexican independence in 1821. By 1920 the Mexican capital had 620,000 residents and was a modern city in all respects. In 1931 outlying towns were legally annexed, giving Mexico City the major sub districts and street pattern that characterize it today.
Population Growth Rates:
Population Growth Rates Cont’d:
Population In Mexico City Over The Last 50 Years
Quality of “Basic Needs”: The rapid growth of Mexico City has created several problems, one being an increasing inadequate water supply, and the sinking, by as much as 6 m of parts of the downtown area into soft lake deposits that underlie much of the city damaging buildings and disrupting some water and sewage lines. Given the tremendous size and population of the Mexico City Metropolitan Area and its dependence on the aquifer for almost three-quarters of its drinking water supply, the protection of ground water quality is of utmost concern. Wastes from domestic, industrial, and commercial activities contain a variety of human pathogens and toxic contaminants that may pose a hazard if not properly managed. The potential for these contaminants to leach into the ground water depends on many factors, such as the composition of soils and geologic materials, the depth of the water table, the recharge rate, and environmental factors that can influence the mobility or degradation of contaminants.
About 7 percent of the water is passed to 27 different treatment plants where it is treated, and this joins the remaining untreated water to make its way into the Tula catchment and from there to the Gulf of Mexico. Since the sewage lagoons and reservoirs, sewage plants, landfills, garbage tips and the black water canals are all situated on the aquitard which overlies the Mexico City aquifer, there is ample cause for concern that eventually there could be cross contamination of bacteria and chemicals from leachate and the contaminated surface waters into the underlying potable water supplies.
The atmospheric pollution in Mexico City is one of the most severe air pollution cases in the world. The pollution levels are often above air quality standards and therefore it is urgent to find strategies to control them. The most important air pollutants are ozone and it’s precursors (HC and NOx).
Level of Infrastructure: Major highways and railroads radiate from the city to all parts of the country. A huge international airport is located east of the city. Transportation within the city has been chronically congested, partly because of the narrow streets. Streets in Mexico City are in that of a gridiron pattern, square blocks, and plazas which reflects in part the plan of the Aztec capital on which the Spanish City was superimposed. The subway system of Mexico City open in 1970 and operates quiet rubber-tired trains on three lines of subterranean and surface track. The stations are particularly attractive and well lit. Supplemental water is obtained from distant sources outside the valley.
Acessment of Affluence and Poverty Levels: Poverty in Mexico City resembles poverty in any other developing country. Poor people in the city often work for low wages in factories set up by companies based in developed countries. Many live in conditions such as the example below.
The great inequality in the distribution of wealth is a sad feature that will accompany
Mexico City throughout its history. There is very little room for a middle class to develop. At the macro level, Mexico City was doing very good in the turn of the century, but this growth hid
many profound social problems.
Description of Social Fabric: Mexico city does have a crime problem, and is probably less safe than most large US cities. Street crime has exploded in the past four years amid economic turmoil, endemic police corruption, and the breakdown of authoritarian political controls. Worst of all for unwary visitors are taxi kidnappings, in which criminals steal a cab, pick up passengers, and force them at gun point to withdraw cash from bank machines. Official statistics put the number of crimes at nearly 700 daily. There are about 20,000 car thefts with violence (carjackings) per year in Mexico city.
Employment and Economy: The Mexico City metropolitan area dominates the commercial and industrial life of Mexico. It produces much more than it consumes, and exports both into the nation and abroad. Among the important manufactures are textiles, clothing, steel, aluminum, cement, foods, and beverages, cigarettes, leather and rubber goods, furniture, appliances, and electrical supplies. Mexico City is the largest publishing center in Latin America. Tourism is also an increasingly important element in the economy.
Public education has been intimately tied to the Political and Social Revolution of 1910 and the budget of the Federal Government. In higher education, the most striking single development has been the growth of the National Autonomous University.
Evidence of Urban Planning: Mexico City has become synonymous with environmental disaster. Since the 1970s, Mexico City has been plagued with air pollution, sinking grounds, and chronic water shortages. All these are linked, in one way or another, to the deliberate desiccation of the six lakes – Texcoco, Chalco, Xochimilco, Xaltocan, Zumpango, and Lago de Mexico – that at one time made up the Basin of Mexico in which the city lies. A report by Nabor Carillo, written in the early 1960s, proposed reversing the desiccation process in Texcoco Lake. Carillo, a soil expert and professor at the University of Mexico, argued that the constant draining of the Basin lakes was not only costly but futile, and that there were greater benefits in restoring them. The government actually accepted parts of Carillo’s proposal and in 1985 built a 2,500-acre basin on land previously occupied by Texcoco Lake, but then the efforts were abandoned. Gonzalez de Len and Mexican architect Alberto Kalach, proposed the creation of a body of water in the remaining 15 percent that is controlled by the government. The proposed lake would mostly depend on rainwater and treated household wastewater. The proposal predicts that by 2010, Texcoco Lake could be 15 times its current size and provide Mexico City both environmental and economic benefits. Environmentally, returning the proposed acreage to a lake would increase humidity levels, which would draw prevalent northwestern winds into the area, helping clean the air and reverse ozone-layer depletion. Economically, the lake – three times the size of the Bay of Acapulco – and surrounding areas would attract thousands of tourists every year.
Related News Stories;
Mexico City Chokes ON Air Pollution Records
MEXICO CITY, Feb 1 (Reuters) – Mexico City schoolchildren were kept indoors and out of playgrounds on Tuesday while brick factories remained shut and factories were forced to cut output after air pollution hit record levels this week.
“The situation is grave,” Humberto Bravo, an environmental pollution researcher at Mexico’s National Autonomous University (UNAM), told Reuters. “The problem of air contamination in the metropolitan area is critical, both in terms of suspended particles and ozone, and it’s having grave effects on the population.”
Last year, the World Resources Institute, funded by the World Health Organization, named the city the most dangerous in the world for children in terms of air pollution, with high levels of sulfur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and total suspended particulates (TSPs).
Authorities nevertheless declared 1999 the best year in the last decade for pollution.
The respite for the metropolitan area’s 20 million inhabitants was short-lived, ending on Monday.
Though pollution levels were dropping on Tuesday, contingency measures remained in effect after southeast Mexico City on Monday recorded all-time high levels of suspended particles — mainly carbon-based matter from fires — said Alejandro Ortiz, spokesman for the city Environment Secretary.
Factories in the southeastern part of the city were ordered to cut back operations by 30 to 60 percent and some 154 brickyards around the capital were shut down.
Outdoor activities at schools and youth sports centers were prohibited, and parents were encouraged to keep children inside. Health brigades visited schools and homes to distribute machines to measure air quality.
By midday Tuesday, particulate levels had dropped to 134 points from Monday’s high of 385 points on the overall air quality index known as the Imeca, Ortiz said. Contingency measures could be lifted later in the day if air quality continued to improve, he said.
Mexico City — one of the largest metropolitan areas with around 3.5 million vehicles — declares environmental emergencies when the Imeca reaches 250 points. Many urban areas use 100 points as the danger threshold.
This week’s spike in air pollution levels was blamed on shifting winds carrying smoke and particles from outlying industrial plants and agricultural fires into the city.
No serious health problems were reported, Ortiz said. Residents complained to local newspapers of headaches and respiratory problems and many also suffered sore eyes and throats.
Summary Statements and Analysis: The quality of life for residents in Mexico City is not one in which I desire. It is very overpopulated which makes everything extremely crowed, which in turn arises problems for air and water pollution. Most of the crime usually does happen to tourists and is most of the time nothing more serious than theft or car jackings. I see in the future this only getting worse. More people are immigrated to Mexico City form other parts of Mexico in search for a better quality of life. With so many people doing this, things are not going to improve. I feel that both optimists and pessimists can come into agreement when foreseeing future problems due to water and air pollution, soil degradation, global climatic change.
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