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Environment

Bogota is making great progress toward environmental sustainability and protection of its biodiversity by redefining its current urban zoning planalong with protecting the water sources that feed the city, including three surrounding moorlands as well as the rivers and creeks that cross through the city, 14 wetlands under preservation, and the recovery of the Bogota river.

Also noteworthy in environmental matters are innovative solutions in terms of mobility and the Zero Garbage program.

Find the next information about environment:

 

Urban development and water protection

Bogota is pursuing a new zoning plan that focuses on the city's water to build a sustainable habitat model that will address climate change. Different strategies for the revitalization and protection of water resources are being implemented to achieve this. These include:

  • Protection of Moorlands

Over 600 hectares of the moorland corridor between Chingaza, Sumapaz, and Guerrero guarantee water supply for over 10 million people in the city and surrounding municipalities. The responsibility for protecting this corridor, which hosts over 1,699 species of plants and 487 of vertebrates, falls on the Empresa de Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Bogotá (Bogota Water Works Company - EAAB), and Conservation International.

  • Recovery of rivers, creeks, and wetlands

Through the Environmental Management of the Hydric System project, the city pursues the recovery and conservation of its river and water resources (wetlands, rivers, creeks, basin canals, and rivers). 

  • Treatment of Residual Waters

The Residual Waters Treatment Plant (PTAR) treats wastewater produced by an average of two million people. It is expected that the water from the plant will be given outlet to the Bogota River, which will help contribute to its cleanup.

  • Sanitation of the Bogota River 

Recovery of the Bogota River is a long-term project comprising three stages:

  • By 2015: Body of water with "minimum aesthetic non-aggressive conditions; i.e., one with no floating solid residues, greases, oils, foam, among others.” [1]
  • By 2025: Body of water that is suitable for the irrigation of crops and farmlands in the Bogota Plainland.  
  • By 2050: Relatively stable water environment that “sparks ecological restoration and recovery of the river's natural wildlife." [2].

 

Natural Spaces

Bogota benefits from several natural spaces within the city, in addition to its in rural and surrounding areas, which are key for environmental sustainability and mitigation of the effects of climate changes. 

  • Wetlands

Fourteen wetlands are distributed throughout the city, totaling 675 hectares. These natural spaces harbor important bodies of water and are part of the city's system of protected waters, as they regulate the water cycle, improve air quality, and act as spaces for the protection of biodiversity, generating knowledge and research. Over 150 species of birds live in these wetlands (200 in Bogota).

  • Parks 

Urban parks: The city’s 20 districts contain over 5,041 parks, including one regional,  14 sports facilities, 33 metropolitan, 78 zone, 3,314 neighborhood, and 1,601 smaller extension parks.

Natural Parks: The Chingaza National Natural Park (which includes a namesake moorland), the Entre Nubes (In the Clouds) Mountain Ecological Park, and the Chicaque Natural Park encompass a broad diversity of animal and vegetable species and water resources. 

  • José Celestino Mutis Botanical Garden

A 19 hectares Botanical Garden, this offers a natural area with over 18,200 species of Colombian native plants, enabling vistors to experience different types of ecosystems. Its mission is to contribute to “the preservation of the Capital City's flora, environmental sustainability of its territory, and the leveraging of its genetic heritage, through scientific research, technological transfer, and environmental education.” 

 

Sustainable solutions in mobility

Camilo Monsalve, 2012

  • The Transmilenio System

The bus system reduces fuel consumption and pollutant emissions. Tests have been conducted since May 2011, for the use of hybrid buses (diesel-electric) and electrical buses that would further reduce the city's pollution by 40%.

  • Integrated Mass Transit System (SITP)

With the launch of the SITP in 2012, it is expected that 5,188 traditional public buses will be eliminated from the streets, which will save 643,178 barrels of diesel per year. The system will improve the city’s use of energy and water resources. 

  • Network of Bicycle Pathways

This network of 344 kilometers of mobility corridors for exclusive use by bicycles has fostered a reduction in the emission of pollutant gases, as 450,000 people utilize them daily. 

  • Ciclovía (Temporary Bicycle Ways)

A circuit spanning 127 kilometers of bicycle ways, this allows over one million users to undertake different sports and recreational activities every Sunday. This model has been replicated in cities such as New York, Paris, San Francisco, and Chicago. 

  • Electric Taxicabs

Begining 2013, a pilot test will be run with 50 imported electric taxicabs. These vehicles will cut green-house gas emissions by 70–80%, and their maintenance will be 50% lower than that of a traditional combustion engine vehicle.

  • Car-Free Day

Since 2000, Bogota has been hosting an annual Car-Free Day, a date on which no private car is allowed to operate within the city, and when citizens travel using only buses, taxis, and bicycles. In 2012, close to 1.5 million cars were kept off the streets, which represents a 16% reduction in soot, dust, and smoke. 

  • Pedestrianization

Seventh Avenue: Over 10,000 fewer vehicles move through this important downtown corridor between the hours of 8 a.m. and 6 p.m. In the first months after the implementation of this model, there was a 10 decibel reduction in noise levels, and 563 fewer tons of pollutant gases are expected each year (2 tons per day). The corridor as well has free bicycles for rent.

G Zone: Plans for 2013 involved turning this area into a pedestrian-only zone, as a means to increase pedestrian mobility, and see trade in this exclusive sector dedicated to international cuisine. 


Basura Cero (Zero Garbage) Program

This program, led by the current city government, hopes to achieve 100% recycling of all solid residues produced by the city by creating citizen awarness toward responsible consumption, including reduction, separation, re-use, and repair of waste. This new model also includes formal employment of 14,000 people currently dedicated to recycling.

Learn More:

Empresa de Acueducto y Alcantarillado de Bogotá
Bogota Environmental Secretary 
Bogotá D.C.
Bogotá Humana
Parque Natural Chicaque (Chicaque Natural Park) 
Secretary of Culture, Recreation and Sports 
Humbold Institut
Humedales Bogotá
City Recreation and Sports Institute 
Botanical Garden Jose Celestino Mutis
Secretaría General de Bogotá
Colombian National Parks 
Transmilenio

 

[1]Bogota Waterworks. “Stages of the process for recovery of the Bogota River.” http://goo.gl/AfyWg

[2]Bogota Water Company. “Stages of the process for recovery of the Bogota River.” http://goo.gl/AfyWg