Just like New Delhi, Paris has also been witnessing a severe rise in pollution levels lately. The French authorities have effectuated a series of action plans aimed at tackling air pollution in Paris, which can be an inspiring event for the Indian capital.
After New Delhi choked under the worst smog in 17 years after the not-so eco-friendly Diwali celebrations this year in October, Paris, the city of love, has also found its way in the list.
According to Airparif, the air quality-monitoring network in Paris, there has been a notable increase in smog in and around the city, because of the cold weather and windless conditions, which is the worst in 10 years.
To cope with the adverse conditions and decreasing temperature, the government has implemented a series of action plans and has vowed to become diesel-free by 2025. Along with Athens, Madrid and Mexico, Paris has also decided to ban the high-polluting diesel cars and vans within the next nine years.
“We stand up to say that we no longer tolerate air pollution and the health problems and deaths it causes, particularly for our most vulnerable citizens. Big problems like air pollution require bold action, and we call on car and bus manufacturers to join us,” said Paris Mayor, Anne Hidalgo.
Officials in the city launched a campaign last week to bring down the number of people commuting by cars and increase the use of non-polluting vehicles, which includes barring people to drive cars around the city based on if their number plates end with odd or even numbers, just like the odd-even scheme in Delhi, implemented last in April 2015.
Along with this, security checks for drunk driving have also been made stricter and all public transports and residential parking areas are made free to encourage people to use public transports.
To further instil a sense of care for the environment among the residents, authorities in northern parts of France, have reduced the maximum driving speed limit on major roads, have urged the people to resort to car-pooling, and ordered the residents to avoid wood fires.
According to French doctors, high smog levels during the entire year have killed tens of thousands of people in the European Union. Almost 500,000 premature deaths in Europe are caused by air pollution every year and the numbers have increased up to three million worldwide.
The Fine Particulate Matter (PM 2.5) not only majorly affect the aged and children, but also prove to be harmful for pregnant women, as toxins can pass through the placenta and cause premature births or underweight babies.
What did Delhi learn?
The government in Paris implemented a set of plans immediately after the alert was issued last week when pollution levels crossed the average PM10 readings of more than 80 micrograms per cubic metre of air particle, with the highest reading of 146 on December 1.
On the other hand, New Delhi has not been able to implement any plan apart from banning diesel generators, even after the danger levels were triggered almost two months ago.
On December 5, air quality in the national capital was under the ‘very poor’ category with PM levels at around 399, which is more than four times that of Paris where PM 10 touched 95 micrograms per cubic metre around the same time.
However, the French capital is still doing much more to reduce the pollution levels than New Delhi is.
As Paris has a lot to inspire the Indian capital which is still engulfed in the not-so-visible-anymore but severe pollution, it itself is struggling to find more radical solutions.
Energy efficiency, clean energy, conventional energy sources, expanding public transport networks, waste management and water management and treatment, are some of the vital steps which can help every city in the world to go green and ultimately reduce the pollution levels.
However, it is yet to be seen what results the current measures show, or what results will ‘no action taken’ show, as with the case in New Delhi.