Pollution in Paris

Cold, blue sky, sun, and fog smog! For a few days now the level of pollution inside of Paris has drastically risen. The beautiful winter weather is disrupted by a high amount of micro particles. In Paris this phenomenon has been happening a lot since 2014, I am not sure about the years prior to that.

When little one was a few weeks old I noticed for the first time that I could not see very far, my vision went blurry. I at first thought that this was due to my eyesight having changed during my pregnancy. But actually it was smog. Now I have an app on my phone that regularly gives me pollution alerts.

Smog is not fun, you think it is a beautiful day, but then you tire quickly. We have had pollution alerts in the past where we were advised not to go outside with small children, or to do any physical exercise that needs more breathing.

Ever so often car are restrained in their circulation rights, depending on the license plates. People are asked to use more public transportation and carpool. The only problem with public transportation is that the exposition to micro particles is often higher inside the metro stations than outside.

Besides alternate circulation, the city of Paris takes more and more steps to make the air cleaner. Thus over time diesel cars will disappear from the streets of Paris. You can borrow bicycles, called veilb’ at around 1 800 stations. You can borrow electric cars or autolib’ at those stations you can also refuel your own electric car. The newest addition is Belib’ stations, which are there for recharging electric cars at different charging speeds and thus at different prices (really not that expensive). Even the public transport system has become more attractive, at leas for Parisians. Ever so often there are free days to promote public transportation or because there is a climate related event or because there is well too much pollution… The monthly ticket pass navigo is now a single fee for all zones, at around 70 euros when before it cost between 65 and 100 something euros depending on where you live/work/study…

But not only the means of transportation are fighting pollution, the city itself has started to change a bit. You might recall me writing about the Berges de Seine, well currently the banks on the left side of the Seine are a nice promenade, but the Maire of Paris, Anne Hidalgo and her team are working on a project for the right banks of the Seine in Paris to be turned into a big pedestrian playground. And now this will make so many tourists’ hearts melt, the Avenue des Champs-Elysées will be accessible to pedestrians one Sunday per month from April 2016 onwards. In September there was a test Sunday, and walking on the popular avenue was definitely a cool thing to do.

Champs-Elysees pietons

I now just hope that all of these actions to make Paris greener and less polluted will actually help. But having things accessible to pedestrians is such a positive evolutions, especially for people like myself who don’t even have a licence 🙂

How polluted is it where you are? What are the local politicians doing against pollution?

© Solveig Werner 2016. All rights reserved.


10 thoughts on “Pollution in Paris

  1. It’s amazing that for all the efforts to curb smog it just keeps growing. In Italy Milan and Rome are especially bad in the winter.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I agree. Warm winters definitely do not help. But I do think that in the past it was far worse. Old photographs, and tree barks prove this.


  2. Pollution was as strong if not stronger 2014. It is extremely tiring and espcially bad for young ones, elders, and disabled persons. But it is very bad for us as well. But we get used to it! I wonder how I shall find it when I come back in June after year in the country…

    Liked by 1 person

    1. 2014 was horrible, it lasted for weeks, and I had a newborn at the time…
      In June I do hope things will be better, best is August for absence of pollution… but then in the summer we get Azote and Ozone.
      When are you coming in June? I’d love to make your acquaintance in person.


  3. London is still awful on cold winter days. The Shard 6 miles north of me disappeared into smog on Monday. But it is better than it was. Getting rid of diesel cars and old buses will help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I think many people do forget that in the past it must have been horrible. I spend a winter in Poland and well I always smelled of charbon, as it snowed the smog was not too bad, but I guess there must have been more micro parties than good for us.
      Here most busses are with some vegetable oil or something like that, they all are considered to be green. I heard that the breaking in the metro is very bad as there are tiny metal particles released into the air…

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Here the Diesel engines are the biggest problem with what they call ‘particulates’ really microscopic particles that can irritate asthmatics. Gradually they are going but too slowly.

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I feel fortunate to have known a clean France and Paris. I’ve noticed how bad the air can be in the summer when it gets now so hot, something that was so rare in the 90s.
    The USA have also some heavlily pollutated regions and unlike Paris it is almost impossible to create pedestrian sections since cities can be so huge.
    I applaud Paris for these measures that will make the air cleaner.
    You are very young but maybe you know the song from Joe Dassin “J’m balladais sur l’avenue?” This is on the Champs Elysees.
    Take care, Solveig.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I don’t know that song Evelyne. I am not sure but I think the lack of cold winters is not helping and Germany using a lot of charbon lately… I don’t recall things being this bad 10 years ago. Actually it started in 2014 that people started seeing the smog.

      Liked by 1 person

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