Automobile density in Paris, France, like many cities, has many leaning toward public transportation as a better option, but not enough, apparently.
Because there are so many vehicles in such a crowded space, great cities around the world struggle against air pollution, and the City of Light, Paris, is no different. Unfortunately, these days, the City of Light is probably better-described as the City of Gloom. For example, from the landmark Eiffel Tower’s observation deck, one can typically see nearly 40 miles. Air pollution has gotten so bad that visibility has been reduced by better than half.
Of course, visibility from the Eiffel Tower is one indicator but, on a far more serious note, the air pollution is proving to be a severe health risk. In December, for example, from when the video above was taken, authorities said that the levels of PM10 (particulate matter 10µm) were at a “very high level.” This is the worst since 2007 that such a high warning level has been issued. With it, Paris encouraged residents to avoid unnecessary physical exertion and, for those with respiratory problems, to use their medications and stay inside.
Paris officials are encouraging motorists to leave their cars parked and take public transportation. Of course, public transportation has always been there, but Parisians do like their cars. This weekend, starting Friday morning and running through Sunday night, public transportation will be free. This may provide a tiny amount of relief, but stronger measures are needed if Paris is going to get out from under its dark cloud of poisonous smog.