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Paris shopping district is city's most polluted spot

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Paris shopping district is city's most polluted spot
12:33 CET+01:00
A new report released this week highlighted the most polluted areas of the French capital. Surprisingly, it was the city's wealthy western shopping district, including Paris's most famous avenue, that has the dirtiest air.

The mayor of Paris, Bertrand Delanoë, has been waging war on pollution since he was elected in 2001, but his battle appears to have been in vain if new figures on air quality released this week are anything to go by.

The EU might have declared 2013 as the "Year of Air", but it hasn’t be commemorated in the Paris region, where three million people were exposed to levels of pollution above the norm, according to the report by Airparif.

“Once again the situation is worrying and it is undermining the health of the population,” said the group Doctors of Paris, which has launched an appeal to fight pollution.

Karine Leger, deputy director of Airparif told Le Figaro that although pollution levels dropped slightly in 2012 compared to the previous year, overall they have remained stable.

The place in the Paris region most exposed to potentially harmful levels of air pollution is unsurprisingly the peripherique, the ring road which is choked up by around 250,000 vehicles each day.

But perhaps more surprisingly, it's the wealthier areas of the city’s right bank which dominate the top of the charts for the most polluted areas within the city of Paris itself.

Place Victor-et-Helene Basch near Porte d’Orléans, in the south of the city, comes in top of the rankings for having the dirtiest air in the city but at number two comes the famous Avenue Champs-Elysées where thousands go each day to shop at the capital’s most famous stores.

Unfortunately 80 000 vehicles join the throngs on the avenue each day.

Occupying third place in the chart of Paris’s most polluted areas is another famous landmark, Place de l’Opéra, and in fourth comes Boulevard Haussmann, home to the city’s Grands Magasins.

These three points form a triangle of the most polluted part of the city.

According to Airparif nine out of ten Parisians were exposed to raised levels of pollution last year. Among the 60 pollutants measured, the most concerning one found to be exceeding the limits is nitrogen dioxide,  which can cause irritation to the respiratory tract.

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