Friday, December 9, 2016

Global warming and clean air (Paris)

Copyright © Françoise Herrmann

This week, Paris recorded the worse air quality in 10 years with a spike in airborne pollution of particles measuring less than 10 microns (PM10) equal to  80 ɥg/m(Willshire, 2016 The Guardian) 

French air quality norms are set to PM10 < 50 ɥg/m3 (daily mean) with an alert threshold of 80 ɥg/m(AirParif). 

As a result, public transportation in Paris is operating free of charge, and an odd/even car use ban. similar to that which operates in New Delhi, was implemented to combat air pollution, under virtually windless conditions.

 This means that only cars with odd license plates could operate on Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2016, whereas only cars with even license plates could operate on Thursday, Dec. 8, 2017. Today, the car use ban is still effective with only odd license plate vehicles allowed to operate (carpool, emergency vehicles, hybrids and EV excluded). (Sharman, 2016 The Independent). And the same sort of ban has been implemented in the city of Lyon. 

The spike in Paris air pollution was determined due to a combination of factors: household heating, transportation exhaust and windless weather conditions. 

According to The World Health Organization (WHO) :

Ambient (outdoor air pollution) in both cities and rural areas was estimated to cause 3 million premature deaths worldwide per year in 2012; this mortality is due to exposure to small particulate matter of 10 microns or less in diameter (PM10), which cause cardiovascular and respiratory disease, and cancers

Airparif – French Air quality standards
Sharman, J (Dec. 8, 2016) Paris makes all public transport free in battle against 'worst air pollution for 10 years – The Independent
 Van Eeckhout, L.  (Dec. 8, 2016) Qualité de l’air : de nouvelles limites d’émissions polluantes dans l’Union européenne – Le Monde
WHO – Fact Sheet:   Ambient (outdoor) air quality and health
Willshire, K. (Dec. 7, 2016) Paris bans cars for second day running as pollution chokes city - The Guardian 

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