Mexico City was once dubbed “Mexsicko City” because of its pollution and smog, similar to that of Los Angeles, California. Recently, however, Mexico City has made a huge improvement on the quality of its air due to a rise in awareness and various initiatives such as this one from VerdMX : vertical gardens. Sculptures such as the arch pictured above and vertical gardens, hanging from walls, aim to clean both the air and the reputation that Mexico City gained in the 70s and 80s. As the nonprofit VerdMX states on its homepage, “better air, better economy”, making a clear link between the efficiency of ecology and its positive economic impact. Its primary function however, is to help rid the air of pollution and toxins and is a reminder for those around it how important natural life is for human health. As one of three ‘eco-sculptures’ installed across the city, the arch, holding over 50,000 plants, is both art and oxygenator. It catches the eye, and it also helps clean the air.
Fernando Ortiz Monasterio, the architect who designed the sculptures, said, ‘The main priority for vertical gardens is to transform Mexico City pollution . It’s a way to intervene in the environment.’
Many cities have green reputations — and Mexico City has quickly added itself to the list. The underdog in clean air has quickly become the leader as the air has gone from legendarily bad to much improved. Various pollution measurements and ozone levels now place it on roughly the same level as the air above Los Angeles.
“Both L.A. and Mexico City have improved but in Mexico City, the change has been a lot more,” said Luisa Molina, a research scientist with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, who has done extensive pollution comparisons. Mexico “is very advanced not just in terms of Latin America, but around the world. When I go to China, they all want to hear the story of Mexico.”