• France edition
 
Swathes of France on alert over air pollution
The Eiffel Tower and Paris, obscured by dangerously high levels of fine particles, which are "endangering people's lives". Photo: VideoSurf/Screengrab

Swathes of France on alert over air pollution

Published: 12 Mar 2014 19:13 GMT+01:00
Updated: 12 Mar 2014 19:13 GMT+01:00

The prevalance of particles with a diameter of less than 10 microns were reported by regional air monitoring centres in the affected areas.

On Tuesday The Local reported how environmental campaigners said the pollution levels in the French capital had reached such high levels that people's lives were being put in danger.

Ecology without Borders (Écologie sans Frontière), Breath (Respire) and Unity for the Planet (Rassemblement pour la Planète) have lodged a legal complaint in Paris, on the grounds that pollution levels are endangering people’s lives.

“We are sick of this air pollution,” Nadir Saifi, spokesman of Ecology with Borders told France Info. As soon as the weather is good, and as soon as it's dry in winter you have these peaks in pollution and the emergency wards at hospitals fill up. Slogans and small demonstrations are no longer enough.”

What has caused the spike in air pollution?

  • A lack of wind, coupled with cold nights followed by balmy days, has contributed to the severe air pollution.
  • At night, the ground cools down while the atmosphere heats up during the day due to the sun, which means polluting particles emitted by cars or heating become stuck under a warm layer of air and cannot rise up or be blown away.
  • As a result, monitoring centres have reported a particularly strong concentration of particles with a diameter of less than 10 microns - so-called PM10 particles - in the air.
  • Pollution alerts are issued in France when the concentration of these small particles reaches or breaches 80 micrograms per cubic metre.
  • PM10 particles are highly monitored as the smaller and lighter a particle is, the longer it stays in the atmosphere and can remain suspended for weeks.
  • Particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter are also the most dangerous to health as they can penetrate deep into the lungs and the blood system. They can also lead to asthma, allergies and respiratory ailments.

Alerts have been declared in Haute Normandie, Pas de Calais and Calvados in the north, the Ile-de-France region where Paris is located and the centre-east including some Alpine areas and in some parts of the west.

Alerts are issued in France when the concentration of small particles reaches 80 micrograms per cubic metre.

Measures to fight the advanced pollution level include orders to drive vehicles slowly, a ban on chimney fires and an advice to residents to eschew physical activity either indoors or outdoors.

Airparif, an official monitor and a federation of regional watchdog for air pollution in France, said the pollution threshold would be breached on Thursday in the Paris region.

Authorities in the capital reacted by announcing that the Velib' bike sharing scheme and its car version Autolib' would be free from Thursday.

The levels of PM 10 - or small particles which easily penetrate the lungs - were reported at 50 micrograms per cubic metre in several areas such as Brittany, the Loire region and parts of wine-producing Burgundy.

Don't miss stories about France, join us on Facebook and Twitter

AFP/The Local (ben.mcpartland@thelocal.com)

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Far-right mag's racial slur on minister nets fine
A racist magazine cover has resulted in a fine for a French publication. Photo: AFP

Far-right mag's racial slur on minister nets fine

A far-right publication that compared France's justice minister, who is black, to a monkey was hit on Thursday with a €10,000 fine for making racist statements. READ  

Facing panic, French town bans 'evil' clowns
It's no joke. Clown panic is spreading across France. Photo: Shutterstock

Facing panic, French town bans 'evil' clowns

A French village has banned teenagers from dressing up as clowns for Halloween after people kitted out as the colourful pranksters have sown terror and violence in several parts of the country. READ  

Woman sees herself dead in funeral home
The bizarre tale of how a living woman's picture ended up on gravemarker in France. Cemetery: Shutterstock

Woman sees herself dead in funeral home

A Franco-American journalist was stunned when she spotted a grave marker hologram with her face on it - inscribed with a fake name, date of birth and death - in the window of a funeral parlour. Here's how it happened. READ  

View from 'La Rue'
Who knew? The French really like Halloween
Turns out the French are actually fans of Halloween. Photo: AFP

Who knew? The French really like Halloween

With Halloween just a day away The Local hit the streets of Paris to find out what the French think of this quintessentially North American holiday. While not everyone agrees, lots of people told is they love it. READ  

French inmate shows off drug stash on Facebook
The inmate posted the videos and photos onto Facebook. Prison photo and Facebook photo: Shutterstock

French inmate shows off drug stash on Facebook

In a series of videos and photos more reminiscent of a holiday camp than a prison, an inmate in southern France has given a taste of his hedonistic life behind bars – including cannabis and mobile phones. READ  

Dozens arrested after clash over dead protester
Police made dozens of arrests at a protest Wednesday in Paris. Photo: Martin Bureau/AFP

Dozens arrested after clash over dead protester

A demonstration against the death of a protester killed in a clash with police itself turned violent in Paris on Wednesday, with some hurling bottles and rocks at riot police. At least 33 people were in police custody after the confrontations. READ  

Drones over French nuke sites prompt probe
The first drone was spotted on October 5th above a plant in deconstruction in eastern Creys-Malville, according to EDF. File photo: Nicolas Tucat/AFP

Drones over French nuke sites prompt probe

France's state-run power firm EDF on Wednesday said unidentified drones had flown over seven nuclear plants this month, leading it to file a complaint with the police. READ  

The Local List
Ten things to never say to a French person
Here's what you should never say in France. Photo: Shutterstock

Ten things to never say to a French person

Ah, France. The land of lazy workers, surrender and adulterers. Come again? Say that stuff to a French person’s face and chances are you've made them really angry. Here we’ve listed some of the worst things you can say to a French man or woman. READ  

French staff sergeant killed in Mali clash
French troops intervened in Mali in January 2013 to chase out hardline Islamists. Photo: Joel Saget/AFP

French staff sergeant killed in Mali clash

A French staff sergeant was killed in northern Mali early on Wednesday in an operation by French forces against "an armed terrorist group", President Francois Hollande's office said. READ  

Russia not to get warship just yet: French minister
Paris faces mounting pressure from Western partners to scrap the deal over Russia's role in the Ukraine crisis. Photo: AFP

Russia not to get warship just yet: French minister

The conditions are not yet in place for France to deliver a controversial warship to Russia, the French finance minister said on Thursday, after Moscow said the handover would take place next month. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Sponsored Article
Offer: Unlimited airmiles from British Airways
National
Eight Halloween events not to miss in Paris
National
France falls to Germans in nude swim tourney
Gallery
IN PICTURES: Nowhere combines sex and art quite like France
National
Why you should never turn down an invitation to a French wedding
Sport
Discover the route of the 2015 Tour de France. There are a few surprises
Gallery
Ten changes that would make learning French so much easier
Culture
IN PICTURES: 'Glass ship' Vuitton ready to set sail in Paris
International
How a giant 'sex toy' earned an American artist a slap in Paris
National
'Unlike in the US the French don't put the blame on the poor'
Gallery
Cover up and don't be too Latin: French travel warnings for the US
Society
Macholand: The online uprising against sexism in France
Gallery
In pictures: The daily life of the 2,000 migrants in Calais
Culture
Erotic promo video earns the Musée d'Orsay our "Only in France" award
International
'I love the UK, but I could die getting there': Struggles of Calais migrants
National
Seven reasons why everyone should work in a bar in France
National
The cost of expat home comforts: How France compares to Europe
International
Why don't Calais migrants stay in France? The Local went to find out
National
What are the pros and cons of working as an au pair in France?
Society
Is France's generous welfare state about to get a little stingier?
Gallery
Extraordinary images of ordinary life in the poor Paris suburbs
Gallery
10 things expats love and loathe about life in France
National
So why don't many women in France breastfeed?
National
'Stop bashing La Belle France' - French PM tells UK press
International
UK warns Brits of 'high threat' from terrorism' in France
National
VIDEO: 'The Kama Sutra is not a dirty little text'
National
What Rome could teach Paris and vice versa
Gallery
What do foreign countries warn their citizens about when visiting France?
Gallery
IN IMAGES: Eiffel Tower opens new glass floor above Paris
Society
Is it really better to grow old in the UK and the US rather than France?
Gallery
It's that time if the year again: French sportsmen reveal (almost) all
Gallery
So what do the French find really weird about Anglos?
Travel
Paris museums to open seven days a week but unions are not happy
Culture
Caption contest: What happened when Jay Z met Sark O?
International
This explains why the French never seem to get a sense of déjà vu?
National
VIDEO: Here's a view from the Eiffel Tower you haven't seen before
Travel
Do Paris's iconic rooftops deserve Unesco World Heritage status?
Opinion
'France cannot reform, the pilots' strike showed us this'
National
'We just don’t work hard enough in France.' Is that true?
International
France has moved to beef up security in various public places
National
Hiking naked in France does not come risk-free
Culture
10 French customs that confuse Anglos
National
IN PICTURES: A look inside France's 'most notorious' prison
International
Isis urges killing of 'spiteful, dirty' French
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se