Pollution and how it affects my mucus
It’s not terrible, but you’re going to notice it if you’re coming from somewhere with significantly less of it. I blow my nose a lot more now and what comes out is far darker (ew, I know, sorry, but I think this is something people traveling here would like to be aware of) than normal. I’ve additionally noted that over the past 3-day weekend when there was some sort of holiday on Monday where nobody was working (and therefore far fewer cars and buses on the roads) that the air was fresher, my nose wasn’t as stopped up as often, I didn’t have to blow it as often, and what did come out was clear (sorry again but if you’re reading this I presume you want to know these things).
“Belch!” goes the bus, “cough-cough-hack” goes the pedestrian
This leads me to believe it’s mostly the traffic that’s causing the problem, and within that I’d say the buses are probably worse than the cars. Bogota doesn’t have a subway system, a light rail, elevated trains, or tram; they have buses, lots of buses. As best I can tell all of these buses are diesel, I haven’t seen any that run on natural gas or electricity. The system employed by the city is one known as BRT or Bus Rapid Transit where the buses are sort of run like trains: they have stations and their own dedicated lanes akin to how a tran/tram has its own rail (and so thereby avoids most congestion), however they can and frequently do mix with traffic (those bus lanes aren’t everywhere, only on major streets/highways) so they’re only slightly faster (usually) than driving. If you ask Google Maps to give you various routes between two points in Bogota you’ll notice the estimated transit time for public transport (bus, there’s no other option here) is typically a couple minutes less than that for driving.
I have no idea what the emissions regulations here are – for cars or buses or anything else – but I get the feeling a lot of them (cars and buses both) wouldn’t pass such tests in the U.S. or Western Europe. When the buses (and trucks…and sometimes cars, especially taxis) start from a stop, they emit an awful black fart of fumes. Diesel-powered stuff is worse, so the buses are especially bad. You don’t want to be on the sidewalk next to one when the light turns from red to green.
I’ll try to get some relevant pictures and videos for you guys later (then update this post with them when I can).