Paris Bans 50% Of Cars From The Roads

Paris smog outskirtsCC BY 2.0 Damián Bakarcic

Thanks to severe levels of air pollution for 5 consecutive days, Paris has just put in place a day-to-day ban on about 50% of cars, motorcycles, and trucks. Electric cars, hybrid cars, taxis, and cars including 3 or more passengers are exempt.

Using a system commonly used in China, vehicles with license plates ending in odd numbers are banned from the roads today. Tomorrow, it switches to those ending with even numbers. The length of the ban will depend on the change in pollution levels.


The key type of pollution driving the ban (no pun intended) is PM10 particles, which are each fewer than 10 micrometers in diameter. “The safe limit is 80 microgrammes of PM10 particulates per cubic metre, but on Friday, the level peaked at 180 microgrammes prompting authorities to urge people to stay indoors as much as possible and to leave their cars at home,” The Guardian writes.

To try to cut pollution levels, the government also offered free trips on public transit over the weekend and until the ban is over.

To implement the ban, which is the first such ban in Paris since 1997, 700 police officers at 60 checkpoints are being deployed. Nonetheless, many people opposed to the ban have said that they aren’t going to respect it and would rather pay the fine (€22), or have their employers pay the fine, than spend a much longer time commuting to their jobs or elsewhere.


Aside from vehicles, PM10 particles are caused by industry and heating. Additionally, cold nights combined with warm days keep the pollution from dispersing. Respiratory problems, such as asthma attacks, and heart problems are common health problems that result from such pollution.

Business Green notes that there is a lot of pressure being put on London Mayor Boris Johnson to find a way to reduce similar smog in London. In response to the Paris ban, Green Party London Assembly member Baroness Jenny Jones tweeted, “Paris taking emergency action this wkend. Boris Johnson can’t even be bothered to alert schools to smog threat.”

Source: Tree Hugger 

City Wall Mural Helps Clean the Air

Murals and wall art can add beauty to city dwellings, but this innovative artwork not only beautifies the surrounding landscape, it actually fights smog.

Italian artist, Andreco, has painted a mural entitled Philosophical Tree which lives on a wall in Bologna, Italy. The mural was created using photocatalytic paint which absorbs nitrogen monoxide, otherwise known as smog, in the atmosphere.

The Philosophical Tree also demonstrates that environmentally friendly initiatives don’t have to be an eye sore on the surrounding area.

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The 3 Best Houseplants to Have for Clean Indoor Air

Researcher Kamal Meattle gave a TED Talk on how the arrangement of three common houseplants used in specific spots in a home or office can result in measurably cleaner air. Meattle began his research 17 years ago, at home in New Dehli, India.

The three plants Meattle found to be most effective in cleaning the air are:

  • The Areca Palm or Chrysalidocarpus lutescens (keep in the living room) cleanses the air during the day. About 4 shoulder height plants per person is recommended.
  • The Mother-in-law’s Tongue or Sansevieria trifasciata (keep in the bedroom) converts CO2 to O2 at night.  You want about 6 to 8 of these waist high plants per person. Continue reading