Vehicular Ban in Paris to Curb Smog Issues?

Paris has always been famous as a city of romance. It is the dream of every young couple in love to visit Paris. Paris is a favourite destination for most couples especially for Valentine’s Day. At the same time, Paris is also becoming famous, or should one say infamous, for another reason – its smog issues. The smog that hangs over the city is getting rather out of hand. The high levels of smog made Paris the world’s most polluted capital during the course of the last week.

This situation has forced the City’s Mayor Anne Hidalgo to come out with some emergency measures to reduce the level of pollution. One of the measures being implemented is to keep out vehicles bearing even number plates. Vehicles with number plates ending in an odd number alone will be allowed to ply the roads. This will reduce the number of vehicles on the road by almost fifty percent. Public transport is being made free for the duration of the ban. Ambulances and taxis are exempted of course. Private cars carrying at least three people will also be exempted from the ban. The Mayor has been requesting for the ban for some time now and it is only now that her request has been acceded to by the Government. The Mayor reiterated that the health of Parisians could not be compromised.

This is not the first time that such a vehicular ban is being imposed in Paris. The ban has also been imposed on two earlier occasions. The last time that such a ban was imposed was sometime in March last year.

Plume Labs, a pollution monitoring laboratory gave Paris a rating of 125. Any number above 100 is considered high on the pollution scale. The level of 125 falls midway between harmful and critical. Many citizens are critical of the Government’s efforts to tackle pollution on a long term basis. The worst polluters are believed to be diesel vehicles which were manufactured before 2001. And a law is expected to come into force in July this year which will ban these vehicles from the road.

Road users in Paris feel that enough is not being done by the Government. They want extra charges on heavy vehicles as well as a congestion charge to be imposed within the city. This will both reduce pollution and raise revenue for pollution management. Neighbouring capital has a congestion charge in place since 2003 which has seen pollution come down considerably. In 2014, Paris also imposed this restriction which saw vehicular traffic fall by 18 percent and pollution particles reduced by 6 percent.

This smog level is actually quite surprising in a city where environmental awareness is high. Most of the vehicles on road are diesel powered and old, bought under a policy that promoted the French automobile industry. The smog has triggered concerns for the health of the elderly and for those with respiratory problems. And the unthinkable has happened – Paris is being spoken in the same breath as New Delhi, Beijing and Shangai.

Sam Jackson (have 20 posts in total)
I am a politician and artist..

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