Paris, the city of love has banned half of the petrol and diesel cars on Monday, after pollution levels in the air have reached dangerous levels.
According to the local administration, in Paris and 22 surrounding areas only vehicles with odd-numbered registration plates will be allowed to drive. If the situation doesn’t change, Tuesday – the administration will ban odd-numbered registration plates and allow those with even-numbered plates.
Good news for those who own a hybrid or electric vehicle, as these rules won’t apply to them. More than 700 police officers will be stationed 60 checkpoints around the French capital to ensure that only vehicles and motorcycles with number plates ending in odd digits are on the roads.
Local public transportation and parking for vehicles with even number plates will be free on Monday. Public transportation (including trains) will remain free as long as the traffic ban will remain in force.
According to some French environmental agencies, pollution levels hit 180 micrograms of PM10 particulates per cubic meter – which is far above the normal and safe limit of 80 micrograms per cubic meter set by the World Health Organization. Most of the PM10 particulates (less than 10 micrometers in diameter) are emitted by heating systems including vehicles.
“Pollution is a public health issue. We were obliged to take tough action.” Marisol Touraine the French health minister said on Friday.
But the Automobile Club Association says the decision to ban such a large number of vehicles will be ineffective and will create “just chaos” in the French capital that already has traffic problems.
On Friday, according to Paris Air Quality Index, the air quality was as bad as that in Beijing – the worst city in the world in terms of air quality.