Pollution in Paris: What steps to take to breathe easy

Ben McPartland
Ben McPartland - [email protected]
Pollution in Paris: What steps to take to breathe easy
Photo: AFP

With levels of air pollution in Paris the worst in ten years there are steps people can take to minimize the potentially harmful impact of the dirty air.


With authorities admitting that pollution levels in Paris and much of the rest of the country pose a risk to the public’s health, they have issued a series of recommendations aimed at minimizing those dangers.

Here's what they advise:

  • Don’t exercise too much. Sounds like strange advice but with the air quality so poor, exercising may only exacerbate breathing problems. This is not the day to go for a run along the banks of the Seine or the Champs Elysées.
  • Avoid walking near or cycling on the major road networks in the capital, so today is not a day to go shopping.
  • Respect “scrupulously” the guidelines on any medicines you are taking for breathing problems or only change them on the advice of a doctor.
  • If you have children under six years old, avoid taking them outside to play or to go for walk. And if any children under six years old are reading this, then listen to your parents. Older children are also advised not to take part in any sporting activity.
  • Apart from the traffic restrictions imposed by authorities the population as a whole have been advised to limit using their cars, especially those with diesel engines. Public transport is free on Wednesday.
  • Avoid the use of non-electric tools, the diesel lawnmower will have to stay in the shed.
  • At home: Ventilate your home regularly in the early morning or late evening, avoiding rush hours when outdoor pollution is higher, and preferably by opening windows overlooking the courtyard rather than the street.
  • By car, avoid congested roads if possible. Avoid using your car for short trips (less than 2km) for which the engine has no time to warm up, choose walking, or cycling or public transport instead. Airparif shows that it is inside a car, particularly when behind another vehicle exhaust, that you are the most exposed to traffic pollution.

If you want to see what air pollution in Paris looks like check out this video below. It was filmed during a similar spike in air pollution in 2014.



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