During the project’s 15 years, Swisscontact team members were able to gain vast knowledge and experience. These are the most important lessons learnt which can be implemented in similar projects to come:
Aire Limpio never financially compensated personnel for public sector functions, which has ensured that the staff costs were the responsibility of the municipalities.
The continuity of the technical staff in municipalities and universities is fundamental to install long-term processes.
The results achieved by Aire Limpio prove that it is easier to consolidate programmes when those involved remain motivated, are trained through international technical missions and continuously receive local training.
A broad alliance with environmental organisations from the civil society (such as Liga de Defensa del Medio Ambiente (LIDEMA), Red De Voluntarios Ambientalistas de Bolivia and Red de Periodistas Ambientales de Bolivia) contribute to a project’s success.
Environmental education; a positive experience was the training of teachers, equipping them with materials and skills to replicate the topics year after year in schools and universities.
Raising awareness; working on strengthening the capacities of journalists and those in communications proved to be effective, as their work was decisive in introducing the issue to the agenda of citizens and opinion leaders.
The training of municipal staff and that offered in universities contributed to the sustainability of the programme. Today, there are many specialised team members directing national and local policies, professionals who have become independent and offer professional services as consultants, as well as suppliers of goods and services. This is complemented by teachers who replicate the knowledge in university classrooms.
The issue of air pollution will not generate state policies on its own. Therefore, the combination of the vehicle emission control system and the technical-mechanical inspections of vehicles is essential.
At the end of the project, the support of municipal initiatives to modernise public transport systems is still a critical aspect. It is still seen more as a contribution to vehicle decongestion and road planning than as a contribution to environmental or health protection, as it was initially proposed. For that reason, is imperative to include in the formula, the health problem costs.
The epidemiological studies carried out in Aire Limpio’s first two phases were related to the contamination of carbon monoxide, ozone and nitrogen oxides, mainly because the MoniCA Network had access to information on these pollutants. Later studies showed that the most critical pollutant for Bolivian cities is particulate matter.