France's news in English

Editions:  Austria · Denmark · France · Germany · Italy · Norway · Spain · Sweden · Switzerland

Paris pollution: 'Like a room with eight smokers'

Share this article

Paris pollution: 'Like a room with eight smokers'
This air in Paris was the same as being in a room with eight smokers. Photo: AFP
08:42 CET+01:00
Although the City of Light has a lot to offer its visitors, fresh air isn't one of them. At its worst, pollution in Paris is as bad as being stuck in a 20-square-metre room with eight smokers, a report showed on Monday.

On December 13th last year, Parisians had to squint their eyes to be able to make out the iron girders of the normally imposing Eiffel Tower amid an unusually thick blanket of grey fog.

The reason was a massive spike in pollution, resulting in the population breathing in about six million especially toxic fine particles per litre of air while walking the streets, or up to 15 times more than they usually do.

On March 28th, the situation in the French capital was almost as bad, and could be compared to a case of intense passive smoking, a report published by French daily Le Monde declared on Monday.

The 18-month study, carried out by air quality monitoring network Airparif, along with scientific research centre CNRS and the city of Paris, warned however that the December spike in pollution was as hazardous to a person’s health as being in “a 20-square-metre room with eight smokers”.

Since 2012, the World Health Organization (WHO) classifies the fine particle matter as carcinogenic and say that it can cause asthma and heart diseases.

Particles less than 2.5 microns in diameter are also the most dangerous to health as they can pierce the lungs and the blood system.

The report concluded that the spikes in Paris’s pollution were mainly due to extremely heavy traffic, wood burning to heat homes and industrial fumes.

The March spike prompted the city of Paris to impose a temporary ban on cars as well as make public transport free for a whole weekend in the hope less people would get in their vehicles.

Similar steps were taken in Caen and Rouen.

See how bad the air in Paris was through this timelapse video

By Louise Nordstrom

 
Get notified about breaking news on The Local

Share this article

The Local is not responsible for content posted by users.
Become a Member or sign-in to leave a comment.

From our sponsors

How to work 9-5 and travel the rest of the time

A full-time job shouldn't stop you from satisfying your wanderlust. The Local spoke to Travel After 5 blogger Alline Waldhelm to find out her tips and tricks for travellers who only have 25 days of annual leave.