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Italy Joins China in Air Pollution Crisis

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Italy and China now have something in common: strange weather patterns that are causing health-threatening air pollution. On December 28th, Rome partly banned cars from the streets based on license plate (like China), while Milan and nearby town Pavia completely banned cars between the hours of 10am and 4pm  in an effort to clear a buildup of pollution caused by unseasonably dry and warm winter weather. Traffic was also limited in Naples, where vehicles that operate on earlier than Euro 4 emissions standards are banned.

Unfortunately, it seems that the measures are somewhat lackluster, as critics points out that many Italians are on holiday during this time and authorities have been lax with enforcement of the driving rules, leading to the conclusion that these “emergency measures” are largely symbolic, and mean little.

Fortunately, relief from the pollution seems to be on the way, as cool winds forecast for the end of the week will cut the volume of airborne particles. However, many warn that in the long term, pollution problems will not go away unless larger cities offer more alternatives to driving, a problem especially troubling in Rome, where an underground Metro service is severely limited by the archaeological riches buried under the city.

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