“hoy no circula” in english

mexico city’s chronic air pollution has caught the world’s attention again this month. the giant smog cloud looming (threatening, hanging ) over the capital continues to present health and environmental issues, but the frustration and fear of policymakers and the public have not produced a sustainable solution.  hoy no circula, a program that keeps old, polluting cars off the streets of the df (the most popular name for mexico city here in mexico– it stands for federal district) has been the most visible effort to fix the problem but it has been widely criticized as insufficient and ineffective.

mexico city in the smog
two mexico city icons: the independence angel & the smog. (jorge nuñez/epa)

how do u say hoy no circula in english?  that is a standard english class question in this part of mexico that doesn’t have a great answer.  circula translates directly as circulate, which is not a common way to describe transportation in english.

hoy no circula schedule
the “hoy no circula” schedule for april, may & june of this year. (el financiero)

in this article, the economist translates hoy no circula as don’t drive today and labels it as a sticking plaster solution.

band-aid aka sticking plaster
also known as sticking plasters & bandages, most americans call these band-aids. (wikipedia)

in america,  sticking plasters are usually called band-aids (a brand name that has become vocabulary). in fact when talking in class about increased hoy no circula measures that have been enforced in the df this month, we discussed two phrases for expressing ineffectiveness: it’s like putting a band-aid on a heart attack (when a remedy is ridiculously less than what is needed) and too little, too late (not enough & after the damage is done).

fun efl practice :) richyrocks english on youtube

vice news article by alan hernandez calls hoy no circula today u don’t drive and observes

nobody claims that the emergency measures imposed in the last few weeks…constitute a long-term solution to the smog problem.

claim means say that it’s true.

rust (shutterstock)

hernandez also  explains

in recent weeks experts have highlighted several reasons for bad air quality, including the endemic corruption that allows many vehicles to pass emissions tests with the help of a bribe. others point to the particularly toxic emissions from the rusty and inefficient old microbuses that chug around the city belching out black smoke behind them.

highlight means point out or call attention to.  endemic means typical in a particular area; mexico in this case. a bribe is an unofficial, illegal payment for a specific result or service. rust is oxidation (see the photo above). chug means move slowly while making a lot of noisebelch means loudly emit gas (for humans, it means out of the mouth; burp is a synonym).

barney (from the simpson's) belching
homer’s friend barney belching on the simpsons (simpsonsworld.com)

check how to pronounce vehicle here.  it’s basically the same word in spanish and english, but the pronunciation is different and thus a little tricky.

df micro
microbuses are exempt from hoy no circula. many observers claim these vehicles contribute to the pollution in mexico city more than cars.

and conversation.com refers to hoy no circula as one day without a car in english and adds embezzlement (illegally using the government’s money) to the list of reasons mexico city can’t get its air pollution under control.

can u offer any solutions to the mexico city air pollution crisis?  do u have a better english translation for hoy no circula than the ones included above? share your ideas under leave a reply




One Reply to ““hoy no circula” in english”

  1. Many people have forgotten that before april in Mexico City, and this unnecessary “new” hoy no circula, The Popocatepetl (the active nearest volcano) was emitting gases, maybe this generated the pollution and continues doing so. After the new hoy no circula was established, in the news the emissions were not mentioned anymore in the media.

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