50% Driving Ban For Paris Due To Air Pollution

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On Monday in Paris, there was a ban in effect to keep vehicles with even-numbered license plates off the roads in an attempt to reduce high levels of harmful air pollution. Public transportation was free as well, so people who weren’t driving could still move about the city.


Last week, air pollution in Paris reached 127 on the air quality index for a few hours, according to Plume Labs, an organization that considers over 100 to be harmful.

The average for Paris is about 38, which is considered well within the range of what is safe, but weather conditions, such as warmth and dryness, are contributing to the surge. Cities in India and China typically are the ones with the highest air pollution levels, but Paris poked into the uppermost level. This peaking effect also happened about the same time last year, and similar actions were taken to bring it back down.

Beijing’s average air quality index is about 111 and New Delhi’s is over 200, according to Plume Labs, so Paris’s average is far less than that.

The current situation in Paris does gives us some indication that even when at safe levels, air pollution levels can rapidly spike. It does appear that the time to gradually switch away from fossil fuels is now, especially because the costs of solar power, wind power, and electric cars have dropped so much in the last several years. Additionally, electric vehicles have been growing and taking a toehold in the marketplace, in various countries around the world.

You might not think air pollution is that significant, especially if you don’t live in a huge city, but the World Health Organization estimated it contributed to the deaths of about 7 million people in 2012.

So, air pollution is not a minor irritant or inconvenience. It can also cross boundaries, meaning it doesn’t simply remain where it originated.

The French government also recently passed a law requiring new commercial buildings to have plants or solar panels on rooftops. Plants can help remove pollutants from urban air.

France is one of the most visited countries in the world, and Paris is the most visited city in France. Tourism brings in tens of billions of euros every year in France, so it will be important to reduce air pollution in Paris to protect tourism revenues.

Image Credit: Eric Pouhler, Wiki Commons

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Jake Richardson

Hello, I have been writing online for some time, and enjoy the outdoors. If you like, you can follow me on Twitter: https://twitter.com/JakeRsol

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20 thoughts on “50% Driving Ban For Paris Due To Air Pollution

  • They must have exempted electric vehicles, right?

    • The news says the ban does’t include electric cars, hybrids, or emergancy vehicles.

  • air pollution dont blow away, it blows somewhere else and spreads. China air pollution blows to Phillippines heating up Pacific sea waters, where the big hurricanes are.
    Living under the dome cost human lives.
    gascar producers are still celebrated for fast shiny cars.

  • This should teach us all that Evs are indeed the way forward

    • And more importantly, EV subsidies are very important to let continue as long as there are ICE cars on markets.

      And also incentives should be directed against luxury ICE cars, because luxury cars are providing most of the profits of car companies. Therefore car companies are also spending most of the R&D money on development of luxury cars. Therefore we need luxury electric cars because they are pushing the technology forwards.

  • Big cities can help move it forward, by saying the bans always happen during the months of X-Y. In some that might be Jan-Dec, Paris might start with 3 months. Since EVs are not included it is a good carrot.

    • Yes, but the best carrot is lots of conveniently located public chargers.

      • That are free to use.

  • The Paris air pollution is caused at the moment by the spreading of slurry. Not by cars.
    As soon as the soil temperature reaches 7 degrees of Celsius the winter slurry is spread, every year that is.

    The pig shit cloud covers the stretch from the Normandie/Bretagne to Belgium.
    And another cloud from cow piss in the east of France.

    Even the UK is hit by it:


    In Brussel the traffic is calmed as well, but the Belgium authorities have no election time at the moment (like in France this weekend) and are more honest to their citizens.

    The air quality in the omnivorous Nations along the ‘pig belly’ (the name for Europe’s pig farming area stretching from the Bretagne to Denmark) is worse than in Beijing:


    The official statement from the Belgium health and environment agency:


    ” Naast de ongunstige verdunningsomstandigheden in de atmosfeer,
    speelt tijdens deze periode van het jaar ook de uitstoot van ammoniak
    een belangrijke rol bij de vorming van fijn stof. Ammoniak komt vrij
    bij het bemesten van landbouwgronden en er is ook de uitstoot via
    stallen. Ammoniak kan reageren met stikstofoxiden (dat eerst wordt
    omgezet tot salpeterzuur) afkomstig van het verkeer waarbij
    ammoniumnitraat wordt gevormd. Dit ammoniumnitraat is de belangrijkste
    component van secundair (anorganisch) fijn stof. Fijn stof
    bestaat immers uit zowel een primaire (=rechtstreeks uitgestoten, zoals
    bijvoorbeeld dieselroet) als een secundaire fractie. Secundair fijn stof
    wordt niet rechtstreeks uitgestoten, maar wordt gevormd door
    ingewikkelde chemische reacties in de atmosfeer. De voorlopers van
    secundair fijn stof hebben niet alleen lokale bronnen, maar kunnen over
    lange afstanden gestransporteerd worden. Metingen van de samenstelling
    van fijn stof in het verleden wijzen uit dat het secundaire aandeel
    tijdens lentesmogepisodes kan oplopen tot 60% van de totale massa fijn

    Google translate:

    ” In
    addition to the adverse dilution conditions in the atmosphere, also
    plays during this period of the year, the emission of ammonia, an
    important role in the formation of particulate matter. Ammonia is released during composting of agricultural land and there is also the emissions from stables. Ammonia
    can react with oxides of nitrogen (which is first converted to nitric
    acid) derived from the movement whereby ammonium nitrate is formed. This ammonium nitrate is the main component of secondary (inorganic) particulates. Particulate matter indeed consists of both a primary (= emitted directly, eg diesel soot) as a secondary group. Secondary particulate matter is not emitted directly but is formed by complex chemical reactions in the atmosphere. The precursors of secondary particulate matter not only local sources, but can be gestransporteerd over long distances. Measurements
    of the composition of particulate matter in the past show that can
    reach the secondary share during spring smog episodes to 60% of the
    total mass of particulates.”

    So a mixture of germs, antibiotics and ammonia particles form the fine particle dust, now at about 60% of the measured pm are from the animal KZ -piss source.

    Instead of closing these KZs and the abattoirs the smallest pm-source is tackled, the cars.
    But with department elections and the Nazis at the door(Front National) who would ban cheese and ham from the French table …. a full belly an coughing children are great to keep the duds in line.

    Here is map of France with the red alert zones:


    The Atlantic coast/Channel coast is the Western European pig-belt, the Eastern part of France is the cow pit.

    • That’s possibly true for today’s grid. It will not hold for tomorrow’s grid.

      And things must be a bit close if the people cooking up the numbers compared a small petrol to a medium sized EV. It’s the sort of ‘thumb on the scale’ that would make one careful about accepting their findings offhand.

      • The problem of pms from el. vehicles ist not the source of electricity but the abravasion from tires, tarmac and break pads.
        80% of the emissions from traffic in European cities (here:the fine particle matter) are caused by these 3 factors.
        The el. source, the power plant is only responsible for 20% of the PM emissions within the city.
        Paris and Brussel are closed/limited not because of CO2 emissions in the air or CO or benzene etc. but for the high count of long lasting pms.
        Since over 35 days during this year of 2015 – its just about spring – the legally allowed limits of pms in the air have been exceeded.


        The report from Leuven names 4 different vehicles by manufacturer name and model type which had been compared.
        The data source concerning their pm-emissions is listed at the end of the report.

        If you have any differing data let us know.

        The issue is hard to grasp for el. vehicle fanatics, I know. But in the scientific world arguments count, measurements. And the el. vehicle manufacturers confirm the findings from Leuven, it is their very own data the report relies on.

        The researchers recommend to use – if any – a very lightweight el. vehicle to bring down pm emissions.The el..bicycle is to be preferred above the el,scooter, above the el. car etc….
        But even when we walk there will be pms created from our shoe soles, the tarmac, concrete …

        It would be wrong to close the eyes when we see a problem with logic and pretend that the problem (fine pm in the air) doesn’t exist.
        The problem can be solved by only 20% when exchanging modern combustion vehicles with. el. vehicles.
        And this 20% reduction is simply not good enough as the air quality measurements on our cities do show.
        Around 45,000 people die prematurely in Europe every year because of the fine particles in the air.
        Latest research suggests that this 3 year old body count number is underestimated by lengths.
        Reduce this number of deaths by 20% (when switching to 100% el. traffic incl. trains, planes, ships etc.) won’t do.
        Beside: there isn’t enough capital/money to do the 100% switch.

        What the short study from Leuven says: el. vehicles are no solution to fine particles in the air, the no.1 smog problem in Europe’s cities.
        And should not be labelled with a green sticker or exempted from taxation allowing them to enter smog ridden cities since they ad to the smog problem, ad to the body count caused by air pollution.

        • This is interesting, thanks.
          Has there been any research yet as to how the super small transport, such as the Renault 2 passenger electric can help with this? I noticed that you said that bikes or scooters are better, but sometimes you need to transport more than can be carried on one.
          Or is there research on different types of tire materials or what the roads are surfaced with? . In the US if you are willing to spend the extra money it is possible to get tires that wear much more slowly due to a denser composition. So they last 50-100,000 miles rather than the 20-40,000 of regular tires. It seems that this should help with this issue if they were a requirement rather than an option.

          • Offgridman asks:

            ” Has there been any research yet as to how the super small transport,
            such as the Renault 2 passenger electric can help with this?”

            I don’t know.
            The principle is: the less heavy the vehicle the less abrasion is caused by acceleration and breaking from tires, break pads and road surfaces.
            A like-for-like comparison (total weight) between an el. vehicle and a modern petrol vehicle reveals that the petrol vehicle releases 20% more pm.

            What you write about the tires is interesting.
            But with a more dense rubber mixture there would be more pm created for every mm of wear I guess?

            To safe on fuel we switched 3 years ago on to environment friendly tires from Goodyear, supposed to reduce the fuel consumption by up to 5 %.
            They lasted only around 6.000km and needed to be replaced.
            The tire dealer warned us before that this would happen very likely.And it did.
            I can imagine it is plain physics which can explain these things:)
            Maybe the solution could be a sort of rubber which lasts as usual on/with the tire but breaks down very fast once ‘sanded-off’, in a sort of a fast organic decomposing process.

            There used to be shoe soles made from a rubber-asbestos mixture, no joke. Flexible and dense and long lasting…..

          • Regenerative braking in EVs impact one of the problem areas.

          • Sure, this solves the break pad abrasion problem but not the tire and road surface abrasion ?

          • As I said, one of the problem areas.

          • Would this technology not ad to the weight of the vehicle?

          • No, regenerative braking uses the existing ‘parts’ of an EV. Nothing has to be added.

            When the driver takes their foot off the accelerator pedal no more electricity is fed from batteries to motor.

            The vehicle continues to roll and the rotation of the tires turns the motor which now acts as a generator and feeds electricity back into the batteries.
            The force required to turn the motor acts to slow down the vehicle.

            Brake pads in EVs tend to last 2x to 3x as long as in ICEVs because regenrative braking is very efficient. The mechanical braking system comes into play only in emergency/panic/hard stops. It could be that there will be very little brake pad use in cities and pad dust could almost disappear.

          • Thanks!

Comments are closed.