Paris, Madrid and London’s response to winter smog

As we have posted this week on FB and Twitter, Greenpeace sadly announced at the beginning of this week that the UK has breached already its air pollution annual limit in only 5 days into the year. This is 3 days earlier than last year. At the same time it is the third year in a row that the UK has breached its air pollution annual limit.

It is common knowledge that the biggest and single source of air pollution is diesel vehicles.  As this winter smog has already conquered some of the main European cities including London we have looked at the different strategies or government reactions across other European capitals. And of course the response was different.

Paris had 10 days of smog, reaching the worse pollution level in the last 10 years. In order to reduce negative health impacts on the population, the officials decided to offer free public transportation for that period, discouraging the use of personal cars, lorry bans in the city centre, a ban on wood burning was implemented, and a 4 days of alternating bans on cars with even or odd plates was put in place. Quite organised we might add.

In the case of Madrid over a period of one week and to protect the city’s residents they have banned cars with odd and even number plates on alternating days, increased the use of public transportation and decreased pollution levels.

At the same time London has experienced its worst pollution level in the last 5 years. Surprisingly in London’s case the Government only displayed warnings on busses, encouraging the vulnerable groups to avoid exposure to the polluted air. Compared to the other cities reactions to the smog, was this really the best that London could do for their residents?

Informing is just the first step, however taking an action is key! So what about all of us taking some action towards reducing pollution levels?




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