World Cup fever is in the air – but in Santiago, Chile it’s literally polluting the skies. The governor of Santiago recently put a call out to citizens not to light their barbecues during World Cup soccer games because all the smoke from grilling is worsening air conditions in the capital city. Reuters reports that pollution levels in Santiago reached a five-year high last weekend, after Chile played its first match against Australia in neighboring Brazil.

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Santiago Governor Claudio Orrego said smoke from the barbecuing caused the local government to issue an environmental alert last weekend that restricted traffic and banned outdoor sports at schools because the air quality dipped so low. “We have air problems. Do not light a wood fire, no bonfires, no barbecues,” Orrego said in a Reuters report.

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Along with the good news that their team beat Australia on Friday, was this bad news for Chilean soccer fans, as barbecuing before or during soccer matches is a ritual in many South American homes – to the point that shopkeepers often report increases in sales of barbecues, or braais as they’re known locally, in the lead up to the World Cup.

Via Reuters .

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