URBAN DEVELOPMENT AND AIR QUALITY IN SAN LUIS CITY,
, VIRGILIO CORTINEZ
and JULIO RABA
Departamento de Bioquímica y Biología,
Departamento de Química Analítica, Universidad
Nacional de San Luis, Chacabuco y Pedernera (5700), San Luis, Argentina
author for correspondence, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
(Received 15 April 1997; accepted 19 January 1998)
Abstract. Some factors such as the high population growth, along with insufﬁcient housing, health
and sanitary services, obsolete industrial technology and the lack of environmental management
programs, give rise to contamination in Latin-American cities. Owing to the urban characteristics of
San Luis, a detailed analysis of air quality was planned as part of a more comprehensive study, in
order to make an environmental diagnosis of the city after the demographical and economic upgrowth
over the last 15 years. It has been concluded that air pollution levels in San Luis are higher than those
expected for a medium-size city. The reported high levels were attributed to important industrial
activity, responsible not only for the direct of polluting gases to the atmosphere but also as the
principal cause of the urban expansion. The levels of CO and SO
(ppm) found in the city can be
considered as high. Some weeks during the sampling measure values were appreciably higher than
the maximum tolerance levels established. The urban area under study was separated into ﬁve deﬁned
areas, which allowed to make comparisons in order to identify speciﬁc contamination problems. The
slopes corresponding to the plot polluting substances concentration vs. wind speed were lower than
the expected values. Because of the urban area characteristics, different micrometeorological effects
facilitating a low air exchange can be generated, and consequently increasing the contamination
levels. Thus, it is correct to conclude that the degradation processes are not occurring in a single
environmental plane. Accordingly, air contamination rate in San Luis city could be considered as
evidence of other upper-scale regional environmental degradation processes.
The study of environmental problems has become important in latin American
countries, since the need for generating long-term models for economic and so-
cial development has been understood. In developed countries the environmental
problem involves the ‘contamination itself’. However, in developing countries, the
problem comprises not only the contamination matter, but also the inadequate
use of unrestorable natural resources and the devastation of various ecosystems
following over-explotation as a quick response to economic crisis.
The following are the three main factors generated by environmental degrada-
(a) Unhealthiness for human beings, animals and vegetables.
(b) Downgrading of economic production since health and efﬁciency diminished
Environmental Monitoring and Assessment 57: 169–182, 1999.
© 1999 Kluwer Academic Publishers. Printed in the Netherlands.