SOS pollution

paris-air-pollution-m

There we were last weekend, rejoicing in the glorious, windless, clement weather when instead we should have been deeply concerned.  Why?  Because that glorious weather is poisoning us.  According to Airparif, the pollution watchdog organization here, a third of the country is on maximum pollution alert caused by, among other factors, unseasonably warm weather. The average temperature this week is 19°C (66°F).  On March 12, 2013 the temperature in Paris was -1°C.

A lack of wind, cold nights and warm days have increased dangerously small particles from traffic, factories and heating systems in the region around Paris, northern and eastern France, Brittany, the Loire and Burgundy.  Airparif takes readings of air quality from a hot-air balloon that rises 300 metres above each city.

In an extraordinary public health emergency measure, all public transportation in Paris and its surrounding suburbs will be free for 3 days – starting tomorrow morning (Friday March 14th) to Sunday night.  Velib’ rental bikes and electric rent-a-car Autolib’ will also be free. Parking tickets will not be issued over the weekend and free residential car parking will be enforced. All this to encourage Parisians to leave their cars at home over a 3-day period and walk, cycle or take public transport instead.J228VjNHealth authorities have issued warnings for small children, seniors, asthmatics and people with other respiratory illnesses to remain indoors. Intense sporting activities are also discouraged.  The dangerous levels of fine particles and nitrogen dioxide also cause eye irritations. On Monday, I had to go to an ophthalmologist to get a prescription for an eye wash for my burning, itching eyes.nuage_pollut bis

I was curious to know how Paris air pollution compared to other cities.  Here are some statistics (not very recent, I’m afraid) based on annual mean PM10 (particulate matter with diameter of 10 micrometers or less) –

Paris

38

2008

London

29

2008

Glasgow

24

2008

Berlin

26

2008

Athens

41

2008

Rome

35

2008

Milan

44

2008

Naples

44

2008

Tel Aviv

60

2009

Tokyo

23

2009

Amsterdam

24

2008

Madrid

26

2008

Stockholm

28

2008

Geneva

22

2008

Chicago

22

2009

Los Angeles

25

2009

New York City

21

2009

Santa Fe

6

2009

Seattle

16

2009

Montréal

34

2008

Toronto

21

2008

Vancouver

12

2008

Calgary

26

2008

Istanbul

59

2008

Beijing

121

2009

Cairo

138

2008

Delhi

198

2008

Tehran

96

2009

Ahwaz (Iran)

372

2009

2 thoughts on “SOS pollution

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