Over the past few months, the news feeds have been flooded with articles on various green techs that tackle urban pollution. Some of the measures may seem a bit drastic, as it is the case in Beijing, but overall, the approaches around the world have been more innovative than anything else.
City officials have been introducing all kinds of ideas and strategies- collecting waste to power sewage systems, electric bicycle programs, air purifying billboards, you name it. A new and very incredible initiative now comes from the Spanish capital city of Madrid. There, parking meters will be charging differently depending on how polluting, or clean, your vehicle is.
Probably not everyone would agree, but parking meters, or any equipment or a gadget that makes people leave the car behind and jump on a bike or put on the walking shoes instead, is really great. It is a shame that the main factor that influences this decision is not the thought of going ‘green’ and minimizing air pollution, but rather the price of a ticket, however if this is the way to reduce emissions, then this is how it should be.
In Madrid, for example, the levels of nitrogen dioxide in the air have been exceeding the EU limits for many years now. Although the city officials have been trying to regulate the concentrations, the effect has been minimal, at least until now. The latest measure that they are going to implement, however, already seems like a big success, even before it is implemented. As of 1st of July this year, every vehicle owner will be charged different amounts for parking in the city center, depending on when the car was built and what engine it has.
It is really a fair game. If you have a hybrid car, you would pay as much as 20% less than the standard parking rate, while if you have a diesel that was made in the early 2000, then you might well end up paying as much as 20% more. Now the best part of the news, if you own an 100% electric vehicle, then you simply park for free. In addition, there is a set of other conditions that will determine the parking ticket price, such as how busy the street where you plan to park is.
The city officials have a few extra plans for making the air that people in Madrid breathe cleaner, including a sharing bike program and introduction of electric buses. The measures are essential as the city is heading fast towards receiving fat fines from the EU if air quality is not improved.
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