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Paris alternates traffic to reduce choking smog levels

Published:Monday | March 23, 2015 | 11:02 PM
Pedestrians wearing masks against heavy pollution wait to cross a traffic junction in Beijing recently. The Chinese capital struggles with persistent pollution tied to rapid growth in the number of cars and coal-burning power plants powering the ever-growing city.


Paris authorities imposed 24-hour emergency measures yesterday to limit traffic after record levels of pollution, banning cars with even-numbered plates from operating within the French capital.

Pleased with the sharp reduction in traffic, officials decided not to extend the measures another day when cars with odd-numbered plates would have been grounded.

Similar alternate-day methods were implemented last spring, a time that is prone to lingering pollution because of specific weather patterns in the Paris area.

Public transportation has been free over the weekend and continued yesterday in a bid to lure drivers away from their cars.

ecological alternatives

But some Parisian residents believe that taxpayers' money would be better spent seeking out ecological alternatives.

"It would be good if authorities rather looked to car makers that manufacture cars that pollute less. I am pretty sure that somewhere, there are innovative solutions," said Mireille Castel.

"We should give more place to hydrogen, electricity, hybrid cars. I don't believe at all in this alternating traffic system, I don't believe (it works)," said resident Frederic Lebel.

'Clean' cars, like hybrid or electric-powered vehicles were exempt from the ban, which Paris' Mayor Anne Hidalgo trumpeted as having already reduced by 40 per cent the levels on yesterday's city traffic.