Smog in Santiago


Photo by pura naturaleza

Santiago is a very beautiful valley. The mountains are very impressive. That is, if you have the chance to see them.

Smog is a permanent problem that has no solution yet. In winter, between May and August the situation is critical. We have three statuses for the contamination air levels: environmental alert, pre-emergency and emergency. This is determined by the “Air quality index” that measures the amount of dust suspended in the air (different grain sizes).

Every contamination status has consequences on citizens. Every year, we have vehicular restriction and no solid combustion is allowed if you don’t have a double-chamber conversion. In the emergency status, schools are prohibited to do sports and some factories have to stop their engines. Fortunately, government environmental plans have been working. The CONAMA (ES), Environment Commission, only has registered 4 alerts and 2 pre-emergencies, the lowest index since 1997.

Smog is in our newspapers’ conversation, but is hardly mentioned in our blogs. Tourists experiences of visiting Santiago, also bring up the smog issue. In “Charlies Travels,” Santiago smog is described “It was like walking through a smoky bar at times, but at least the transportation is efficient.” Alison posts “the only down side of the city is the smog, its fall here and there´s no wind or rain to clear it away, so you´ll see in the pics its a little dirty”. Anneopreis’ blog has many posts about her experiences in Chile, all good. But, regarding smog: “There is a lot of smog though, most of the time you can hardly see the andes surrounding entire santiago, it really is very bad”

For details of the contamination plan of Environment Commission click here (ES).


  • Foggy day in London town

    When I first moved to Santiago, I thought the clouds were very static… until I realised it was the snow-capped Andes. I took several weeks for the smog to clear enough for me to actually see them…

    If you ever go, do so in January or February, when most people have left the city for the summer break, the air clears up, and you get a glimpse of what might have been…

  • Clouddead

    If only we had invented hydrogen-powered cars years ago!!!

Join the conversation

Authors, please log in »


  • All comments are reviewed by a moderator. Do not submit your comment more than once or it may be identified as spam.
  • Please treat others with respect. Comments containing hate speech, obscenity, and personal attacks will not be approved.