Paris restricts car use as pollution exceeds safe levels in France
The French government has taken measures to tackle dangerous levels of pollution currently hitting the capital, introducing a reduction on the use of vehicles in Paris.
Car and motorcycle users will now only be able to take to the roads every other day. The ban will come into effect from Monday, with those having a licence number plate ending in an uneven digit able to use the roads on the first day.
It is the second time that the French government has implemented a restriction on vehicles. The last time it came into force was in 1997. The decision comes after the announcement by Paris transport authorities on Friday that public transport would be free over the weekend, in an attempt to encourage Parisians to leave their cars at home.
Last week, the level of pollution particulates in the air in the capital reached a dangerous high of 180 micrograms per cubic metre well over double the safe limit of 80mcg.
Transport authorities have said the spike in levels of air pollution is due to a recent mixture of warm, dry days and cool nights, which has prevented pollution particulates from dispersing and leaving a cloudy build-up in the air.
Apart from the ban, French government has also introduced other measures to tackle pollution, including speed restrictions and warnings against burning fuel.
A spokesperson from the office of prime minister Jean-Marc Ayrault said: “The prime minister is aware of the difficulties this may cause to the everyday lives of Parisians, but this is a necessary measure. According to how the situation evolves, a decision will be made on Monday morning whether the ban will continue for the rest of the week.”
Such high levels of pollution can pose serious health risks for residents of the city and other affected areas throughout France.
French authorities have issued a series of recommendations in an attempt to minimise potential repercussions. Those who suffer from asthma are advised not to go near to major roads or sites of congestion – so a trip to the Arc de Triomphe is off-limits this weekend.
The authorities are even encouraging people not to exercise outside as the air quality is very poor. Parents are being told to keep an eye on young children for possible breathing problems.