• France's news in English

Paris ends smog-fighting curbs as air clears

AFP · 23 Mar 2015, 14:04

Published: 23 Mar 2015 14:06 GMT+01:00
Updated: 23 Mar 2015 14:04 GMT+01:00

Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

French authorities announced Monday that emergency traffic-limitation measures to combat high pollution levels in Paris would not be extended as forecasts showed the air was clearing.

Paris authorities halved the number of cars on the road by banning all vehicles with licence plates ending in odd numbers after a prolonged spike in pollution last week.

They were planning to ban cars with even numbers on Tuesday, but the scheme was halted following improving forecasts.

"Due to the improving situation today and tomorrow, the alternative traffic (plan) will not be renewed Tuesday," announced Ecology Minister Segolene Royal, who took time to salute "the good citizenship of motorists who understood the necessity of this measure."

The Airparif monitoring agency said smog density was still near alert levels Monday, but rain forecast for Tuesday was expected to clear the air.

Though public transport is free of charge to take the sting out of the restrictions, ferociously independent drivers in the capital rail against the measure, despite it having been used only twice since 1997.

French police reported  that 750 police were on duty on Monday to ensure the rules were observed. They had 154 check points in place in and around Paris as well as 57 mobile units.

While they said 90 percent of vehicles on the roads were legitimate, they still made 7,823 stops and handed out 2,803 fines between 5:30am and 11:30am. 31 vehicles were also confiscated.

Authorities did however report a drop in road traffic of between 25 and 40 percent. 

Similar emergency restrictions were last implemented almost exactly a year ago -- on March 17 -- during a particularly bad spike in the pollution levels.

The Paris area is confronting an increasingly troubling air pollution problem, caused by vehicles, heating and heavy industry, which generate tiny floating particles that can penetrate deep into the lungs and the blood system and can cause cancer.

In Paris, authorities measure the concentration of particulates with a diameter of less than 10 microns -- so-called PM10 -- in the air to determine pollution levels.

The safe limit for PM10 is set at 80 microgrammes per cubic metre (mcg/m3), with levels in Paris Monday expected to be somewhere between 40 and 55 mcg/m3. The city's alert level is fixed at 50 mcg/m3.

Story continues below…

According to a 2011 World Health Organisation report, the planet's most polluted city was Ahvaz in Iran with an average of 372 mcg/m3.

Beijing had an average of 121 mcg/m3, while Paris was measured at 38 mcg/m3.



Facebook Twitter Google+ reddit

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Where exactly in France are Calais migrants being sent?
Photo: AFP

Here's where the 8,000 migrants in Calais are heading.

The annoying questions only a half French, half British person can answer
Photo: Beery/Flickr/AFP

Being half French, half British is means you get asked a lot of questions (and some of them can be a little annoying.)

Migrants bussed out of Calais Jungle to all corners of France
All photos: AFP

Hundreds of migrants are being bussed across France on Monday ahead of the demolition of the Jungle camp.

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
A Prophet. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

Looking for something to watch?

The must-see French films of the millennium - Part Two
Rust and Bone. Photo: YouTube Screengrab

The newest French films you need to see before you die (or alternatively when you get some spare time).

Election Watch
Presidential hopeful reckons a pain au chocolat is 10 cents

So France happily takes the pastry out of him.

French ministry of defence officials die in plane crash
Screengrab: eddydeg/Twitter

The French Ministry of Defence officials were killed on Monday when a light aircraft went down on the island of Malta.

Revealed: The ten most stolen cars in France
A Smart car in Paris. Photo: JR_Paris/Flickr

Thieves in France are getting a taste for luxury cars, it seems.

Analysis - France migrant crisis
Migrant crisis won't end with Calais 'Jungle' closure
All Photos: AFP

The Jungle camp may be being cleared but this won't be the end of the migrant crisis in France.

Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie 'to sell their French chateau'
All photos: AFP

Want to live where Brangelina got married?

The annoying questions only a half French, half Brit can answer
Sponsored Article
Last chance to vote absentee in the US elections
Forget Brangelina's chateau - here are nine others you've got to see
The must-see French films of the millennium - Part One
How life for expats in France has changed over the years
Why Toulouse is THE place to be in France right now
Video: New homage to Paris shows the 'real side' of city
The 'most dangerous' animals you can find in France
Swap London fogs for Paris frogs: France woos the Brits
Anger after presenter kisses woman's breasts on live TV
Is France finally set for a cold winter this year?
IN PICS: The story of the 'ghost Metro stations' of Paris
How to make France's 'most-loved' dish: Magret de Canard
Welcome to the flipside: 'I'm not living the dream in France'
Do the French really still eat frogs' legs?
French 'delicacies' foreigners really find hard to stomach
French are the 'world's most pessimistic' about the future
Why the French should not be gloomy about the future
This is the most useful French lesson you will ever have. How to get angry
Why is there a giant clitoris in a field in southern France?
French pastry wars: Pain au chocolat versus chocolatine
Countdown: The ten dishes the French love the most
Expats or immigrants in France: Is there a difference?
How the French reinvented dozens of English words
jobs available