This post was originally published in Portuegese on TheCityFix Brasil on June 8, 2011.

Mexico City. Photo by Matthew Winterburn.

About 7,000 people die per year in the state of Sao Paulo due to  air pollution, according Paulo Saldiva, doctor, professor and expert of Environmental Pollution. The number scares and draws attention to an old problem: the high level of emissions of greenhouse gases in the largest city in Latin America.

To minimize the impact and save lives, we need effective public policies to face the problem head on and transform this difficult reality. Mexico City and Bogota, Colombia, are cities that showed the world that you can revert from a chaotic situation through massive changes in public transport system. These cases were presented as examples of success in the feature story of Flavia Freire, Program Cities and Solutions of Globo News .

Both the Colombian and Mexican city chose to invest in the deployment of the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), annual vehicle inspection and bike paths. In addition, they sought to facilitate the exchange of its fleet of taxis–very old and highly polluting vehicles with new ones–through discounts and financing. The long-term measures have transformed the quality of life and the air of these cities that now have acceptable pollution levels, much different from Sao Paulo who has a level of pollution in the atmosphere three times higher than that considered regularly by the World Health Organization (WHO) today.

Watch the full story.

EMBARQ Brasil, producer of TheCityFix Brasil, works with public agencies to develop and improve mobility for urban projects that are more sustainable and less harmful to the environment. Learn more about the organization’s work by clicking here .