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Paris Pollution Peaks, Brings New Car Ban

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The city of Paris has once again initiated a partial ban on cars driving within the city in the face of “red-alert” levels of pollution. The city hall has said that the air pollution, which has grown much worse since November 30th, poses a significant risk to residents’ health, and lays the blame for the crisis on weather conditions and on a heavy dependence on area vehicles using diesel fuel.

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The car ban would remove half of all cars on the roads based on license plate numbers (only even-numbered plates were allowed on the 6th), while making public transportation free for the day, including the Paris metro and bus services, as well as the Velib bike-share and Autolib electric car-sharing services.

City officials say that this is the ninth time this year that Paris has faced a pollution spike.

This event throws into relief the various ways that the city has been expanding its car restrictions, including plans to replace Seine-side roads with parks, downtown car-free days, highways restricted only to bicycles, and banning cars older than 1997 from the roadways during the week.

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Unfortunately, change in the type of vehicles driven in the city will be slow, potentially leading to continued bouts of pollution spikes, and many of Mayor Hidalgo’s pro-green policies, especially the plan to close roadways on the bank of the Seine, have come under fire from more right-wing opponents.

Perhaps GM should bring its special China-specific car air filter system to Europe, too.

News Source: The Detroit News