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World Car Free Day Promotes Blue Skies, Clean Air, More Beautiful Cities

Today is “World Car Free Day.” Last year’s car free day in Paris found Paris breathing much more easily even in that short amount of time where cars were discouraged and other modes encouraged.

Paris, France, and other large cities honor and encourage this one-day break from the traffic of cars (well, some cars). It is a fresh breather from the pollution that clogs cities. The French capital joins other cities such as Brussels, Bogotá, Jakarta, and Copenhagen in participation in World Car Free Day.

Last year’s Car Free Day directly affected even the sky in Paris for those few hours. The Guardian quoted Elisabeth Pagnac, a civil servant in her 50s: “I live high in a tower block in the east of the city and looking out of my window today I saw the difference straight away: the sky has never been this blue, it really is different without a hazy layer of pollution hanging in the air,” she said.

The first Journée Sans Voiture a year ago supported and promoted by Mayor Anne Hidalgo was followed with a regular Paris Respire (Paris Breathes) day on the first Sunday of each month. A followup story notes that Airparif, which measures city pollution levels, supported the idea that even a day can make the difference: “Levels of nitrogen dioxide dropped by up to 40% in parts of the city on Sunday 27 September.”

Consider inviting the city you live in to take on the day, or a few hours of the day off. Or simply join in by using a bicycle, your feet, or mass transit for a day — maybe today.


Image: Sunday Streets via ExpertSure

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Written By

Cynthia Shahan started writing after previously doing research and publishing work on natural birth practices. (Several unrelated publications) She is a licensed health care provider. She studied and practiced both Waldorf education, and Montessori education, mother of four unconditionally loving spirits.


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