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POLLUTION

Asthmatic yoga teacher sues France after ‘near death’ during Paris pollution spike

A Frenchwoman suffering from chronic respiratory problems on Wednesday sued the state, accusing it of failing to protect her from air pollution in Paris.

Asthmatic yoga teacher sues France after 'near death' during Paris pollution spike
Photo: AFP
Clotilde Nonnez, an asthmatic 56-year-old yoga teacher, told AFP that she had “nearly died” during a spike in air pollution in the capital in December 2016.
 
Her breathing difficulties had triggered “a serious cardiac problem” she said, adding: “I'm still not over it”.
 
Her lawyer Francois Lafforgue said his client was seeking €140,000 ($158,000) for the damage to her health caused by the state's “culpable incompetence” on pollution.
 
“Her life (has) been heavily disrupted by her medical problems, spells in hospital during during peaks (in pollution) and her ongoing treatment,” he said, adding that poor air quality had also increased her chance of getting
cancer.
 
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Photo: AFP

 
“The victims are invisible so we hope this case will force the authorities to take the full measure of the problem,” said Olivier Blond, the president of the environmentalist group Respire (Breathe).
 
Nonnez accuses the state of failing to get tough on polluters and of not overseeing the proper implementation of preventive measures already in place.
 
“What I'm hoping for is that the authorities will admit to their failure to manage the problem going back years,” she said.
 
While she is the first such plaintiff to come forward, Lafforgue said around 30 others in Paris, the northern city of Lille and around the southeastern city of Lyon were also planning legal action.

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TRAVEL NEWS

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

Car, moped, public transport, or electric bicycle - which means of transport is the quickest way to get across Paris?

Revealed: The fastest way to get across Paris

One intrepid reporter for French daily Le Parisien decided to find out. 

The challenge was simple. Which mode of transport would get the journalist from the heart of Fontenay-sous-Bois in the eastern suburbs to the newspaper’s office on Boulevard de Grenelle, west Paris, fastest?

Over four separate journeys, each one in the middle of rush hour, the electric bicycle was quickest and easiest. More expensive than conventional bikes, electric bikes do come with a government subsidy.

The journey was described as ‘pleasant and touristy’ on a dry but chilly morning going via dedicated cycle lanes that meant the dogged journalist avoided having to weave in and out of traffic.

It took, in total, 47 minutes from start to finish at an average speed of 19km/h, on a trip described as “comfortable” but with a caveat for bad weather. The cost was a few centimes for charging up the bike.

In comparison, a car journey between the same points took 1 hour 27 minutes – a journey not helped by a broken-down vehicle. Even accounting for that, according to the reporter’s traffic app, the journey should – going via part of the capital’s southern ringroad – have taken about 1 hr 12.

Average speed in the car was 15km/h, and it cost about €2.85 in diesel – plus parking.

A “chaotic and stressful” moped trip took 1 hour 3 minutes, and cost €1.30 in unleaded petrol.

Public transport – the RER and Metro combined via RER A to Charles-de-Gaulle-Étoile then Metro line 6 to the station Bir-Hakeim – took 50 minutes door to door, including a 10-minute walk and cost €2.80. The journey was described as “tiring”.

READ ALSO 6 ways to get around Paris without the Metro

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