Paris imposes car ban after pollution fills air with smog

By Daniel S Levine,

After the pollution in Paris got so bad that visibility decreased due to smog, officials have imposed a partial driving ban.

The partial driving ban was the first of its kind in almost 20 years and started on Monday. According to CNNMoney, there is a ban on license plates that end in even numbers Monday. Those with plates that end in odd numbers will be banned on Tuesday.

The New York Times reports that officials believe the ban worked on Monday, as traffic jams were cut by 60 percent.

The ban required 700 police officers, who fined anyone with even-numbered license plates. The only exceptions for the ban were public transit vehicles, electric and hybrid cars and those with three or more passengers. Speed limits were also reduced and car-sharing and bike-sharing programs were free.

While the air quality in Paris is usually better than polluted Chinese cities like Beijing, the city is experiencing unusually high pollution because of the warm days and cold nights, CNNMoney noted.

Prime Minister Francois Hollande did sign off on the measures. “The Prime Minister is aware of the difficulties this could create for Parisians, but this extra step is required,” the government said.

It is expected that pollution levels will lower to an average level by Tuesday and officials will decide later Monday how long to continue the ban.

image: By Benh LIEU SONG (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-3.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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