Authorities in Mexico City have issued the first pollution alert in 14 years. The alert was the government’s response to the high ozone levels in the city.  Authorities have restricted traffic and encouraged children to stay indoors. They have also asked the factories to curb their emissions.

The surge in ozone concentration made the city authorities declare “environmental contingency” which continued through Tuesday.

Federal authorities ordered the factories in Greater Mexico area to curb emissions by 40 percent, reported The Business Times. Older cars were prevented from going out in the streets of the city. The alert was issued after the ozone concentration crossed the 190 point limit and jumping to 194.

Tanya Muller, the city’s environment secretary, said, “There’s no wind and this situation has not allowed the dispersion of pollutants.”

Muller also expressed her concern for the government’s decision to impose changes to the city’s “No Driving Today” program last year.   The program limits the number of days that older cars can be driven. The change according to her added more cars to the streets.

She stated, “We need to restrict vehicular traffic. What we are experiencing today is clearly the consequence of having 1.2 million (more cars) in less than a year.”

The government said that there was an “extraordinary increase” in ozone concentration due to the presence of a high-pressure system and deep solar radiation across Mexico City, reported SBS.

The officials urged people to avoid outdoor sports and kids and elderly people are asked to stay indoors.

The last pollution warning was issued in September 2002. It was a “phase one” pollution warning and was also issued due to the elevation in ozone level.

Noteworthy, ozone is a key ingredient of smog.  It is created by the reaction of sunlight with air containing pollutants like hydrocarbons and nitrogen oxide.

Beijing is also facing an air pollution problem. However, the Chinese government has recently announced a creative though an ambitious plan for increased airflow and less dirty industries.