The Paris mayor’s office has announced on Saturday morning that it will take a number of emergency measures for Monday, including banning half of its traffic and making public transport free, in an attempt to deal with the dense pollution cloud that covered the city recently.
A partial driving ban will be applied on Monday, meaning that only vehicles with even numbers on their license plates are allowed to circulate – barring exceptions such as ambulances, taxis or police vehicles. However, odd-numbered cars will be allowed on the road if they carry more than three passengers.
To counter the impact this might have upon the car-heavy population, public transport will be free on Monday, as well as most of the parking lots throughout the city; these measures were initially applied only for the duration of the weekend. This is just the third time in the city’s history that such a measure is adopted, last time happening in March 2014. However, with no effective means to control traffic city-wide, it only amounted to 16 percent drop in vehicle usage.
“I am delighted the state has agreed to put in place a partial driving ban on Monday, which I have been requesting for several days” wrote Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo on Twitter, one of the measure’s most staunch supporters.
This comes after a week in which the French capital has been covered in a dense cloud of smog, making it for a short period on Wednesday the most polluted city in the world according to Plume Labs – having registered a pollution rating of 125, halfway between harmful and critical.
Criticism has come from multiple directions against state authorities, with many saying that future pollution clouds might averted only through long –term measures to reduce pollution, such as a definitive ban on heavy-polluting vehicles. This comes as a measure set to enter in July will ban pre-2001 diesel vehicles.
The cloud itself also passed the English Channel into the United Kingdom in the last few days, with peak levels being reached on Thursday. Most heavily affected were the northern and central parts of the UK. According to the UK Department for Environment Food & Rural Affairs, the smog cloud has fully dissipated and brought pollution levels within normal in the country.
Image Source: BBC