Article

La caña de azúcar: ¿una amarga externalidad

REVISTA DESARROLLO Y SOCIEDAD 01/2007;
Source: RePEc

ABSTRACT Existen numerosos estudios acerca de la relación entre la contaminación del aire y las enfermedades respiratorias, pero generalmente han sido realizados en grandes ciudades de países desarrollados donde dicho problema es asociado a las emisiones de fuentes móviles y fijas. Esta investigación se centra en una pequeña ciudad de Colombia: Palmira (Valle del Cauca) con no más de 300.000 habitantes, pero con un serio problema de contaminación originado por la quema de la caña de azúcar. De este modo, se plantea una función lineal para establecer si la quema de la caña de azúcar tiene relación con la concentración de partículas menores a diez micras (PM10), seguida de una función concentración-respuesta para establecer si las variaciones en la concentración de PM10 afectan la morbilidad. La relación entre la quema de la caña de azúcar y la concentración de PM10 se estimó por medio de un modelo de mínimos cuadrados ordinarios, mientras que en la relación entre las variaciones en la concentración del PM10 y la morbilidad se empleó un modelo Poisson. En ambas estimaciones se utilizaron datos de series de tiempo diarias entre febrero y junio de 2004. Se halló una asociación positiva entre aumentos en la quema de la caña de azúcar y la concentración del contaminante, seguida de una relación positiva entre la concentración del contaminante y el número de consultas médicas por infecciones respiratorias agudas (IRA). Este documento analiza por primera vez los efectos de la quema de la caña de azúcar en la salud pública en Colombia.

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