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Paris Bans Half its Drivers in Smog-Cutting Effort

Paris smogFrance introduced restrictions on Paris drivers today, allowing them to use their cars only on alternate days, as the city deals with a bad bout of smog.

A week of unseasonably warm, sunny weather has exacerbated Paris’s smog problem, Reuters reports. The city is prone to such pollution because of its diesel subsidies and large number of private car drivers.

On Thursday, Paris had 147 micrograms of particulate matter per cubic meter, compared with 114 in Brussels, 104 in Amsterdam, 81 in Berlin and 79.7 in London.

Under the new restrictions, driving days will be determined by license plate numbers. Police officers will stop and fine those driving with the wrong plates – and as of 10:30 a.m., the police had already stopped 3,000 drivers of even-numbered cars for breaking the ban, the New York Times reports.

Electric and hybrid vehicles are exempt, as are cars with three or more passengers. Paris has also introduced free public transportation, including cycle- and electric car-sharing.

Meanwhile officials have cut speed limits around Paris by 20 km per hour (12 mph), and are diverting heavy trucks.

The city has not used a restricted driving system since a one-day spell in October 1997.

Picture credit: Evan Bench via flickr

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