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MAP: How to check the air pollution levels near you in France

The French government has launched an interactive map that tells people in real time about the levels of air pollution near their home.

MAP: How to check the air pollution levels near you in France
Paris with a blanket of smog. Photo: AFP

The air quality maps, which cover the whole of mainland France, show information on the levels of ozone, nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and suspended particulate matter (PM 10 and PM 2.5) in the air that we breathe.

Run by the Prev'Air system operated by the Ministry of the Environment, the maps show air quality levels on that day, as well as offering a forecast for the following day.

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Map: Prev'Air

There are thirteen air quality control bodies in France and the map links to the different areas, which offer colour-coded ratings of the air quality from good to medium and poor.

Air quality has been a particular problem for Paris, with the city regularly breaching targets for safe levels of air pollution.

On Tuesday, Paris declared a 'climate emergency' following in the footsteps of cities including New York, Brussels and London.

“Paris, like other cities, declares a climate emergency,” Celia Blauel, deputy mayor in charge of the environment, told a municipal council meeting, stressing the need to adhere to the objectives of the 2015 Paris Climate Accord.

The declaration also said Paris city hall would create a “climate academy” with the aim of better educating the young and the public about the issue.

Last month the French state lost a court case brought by a mother and daughter who said the high level of air pollution around the Paris ringroad caused them both health problems.

To access the map, click here.

 

 

 

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POLLUTION

Paris faces legal claim over lead pollution from Notre-Dame fire

Paris authorities have been accused of failing to safeguard the health of people living near Notre-Dame cathedral due to lead pollution from a devastating fire two years ago.

Paris faces legal claim over lead pollution from Notre-Dame fire
A complaint has been lodged over lead pollution in Paris from the devastating fire at Notre Dame cathedral Photo: Fabien Barrau | AFP

Local families along with the Paris branch of the CGT trade union and the anti-pollution association Henri Pezerat, have filed the legal complaint alleging city and public health authorities endangered lives.

“Despite the scale of the fire and knowledge about the risk of pollution and contamination… no precaution in particular was taken by the authorities involved for more than three months after the fire,” according to a copy of the complaint seen by AFP.

It says 400 tonnes of lead from the roof of the Gothic masterpiece melted or were dispersed as microparticles over the French capital during the blaze on April 15, 2019.

“Children (in crèches and schools), neighbours and workers have clearly been exposed to the risk of lead” pollution, the complaint adds. “These facts amount to the crime of endangering the lives of others.”

The square in front of the cathedral was closed again to the public in May this year after tests revealed high concentrations of toxic lead particles.

Several months after the fire, city authorities ordered a deep-clean of schools in the area, while children and pregnant women were urged to have blood tests.

The complaint says the city withheld information from school directors and failed to act promptly. It also targets the police department, the culture ministry and regional health authorities.

The efforts of firefighters ensured the great medieval edifice survived the fire despite the collapse of the spire and much of the roof being destroyed.

But the lead risks delayed work on clearing debris and launching the restoration effort for the landmark, which President Emmanuel Macron wants open for visitors in time for the 2024 Olympic Games in Paris.

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the blaze, but they have said an accident, possibly caused by a short circuit or discarded cigarette butt, remains the most likely explanation.

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