Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

AFRICA NEWS

Search of Air Algerie crash site continues

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Sarkozy, Hollande and the scooter wars

Read more

MEDIAWATCH

Confusion online over Air Algérie flight

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014 (part 2)

Read more

THE WORLD THIS WEEK

The World This Week - July 25th, 2014

Read more

REPORTERS

Halal tourism on the rise

Read more

ENCORE!

Tunisia's Carthage International Festival turns 50

Read more

FRANCE IN FOCUS

WWI Centenary: the battle for Verdun

Read more

THE BUSINESS INTERVIEW

When big companies want to do good

Read more

  • In pictures: Debris and devastation at Air Algérie Flight AH5017 crash scene

    Read more

  • Kerry heads to Paris for new round of Gaza peace talks

    Read more

  • ‘No survivors’ from Algerian plane crash, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Paris bans new Gaza protest scheduled for Saturday

    Read more

  • Tour de France fans bring the ambience to the Pyrenees

    Read more

  • French families grieve for Algerian plane crash victims

    Read more

  • Protest against Gaza offensive turns deadly in West Bank

    Read more

  • Halal tourism on the rise

    Read more

  • LA Times wipes France off the map in air crash infographic

    Read more

  • Lithuania’s Navardauskas wins 19th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • French lawyer files complaint against Israel at ICC

    Read more

  • Ukraine names acting PM after Yatseniuk's shock resignation

    Read more

  • BNP to pay $80 million for defrauding Dept of Agriculture

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets Christian woman sentenced to death in Sudan

    Read more

France

Sun-drenched yet hazardous days come to Paris

© AFP

Text by Joseph BAMAT

Latest update : 2014-03-11

Residents and visitors to the French capital are basking in an unseasonal streak of sunshine. But as the T-shirts and sunglasses appear, so have the dire warnings of air pollution.

Weather forecasters on Monday said Paris would enjoy sunny skies and an average temperature of 19°C (66°F), but pollution watchdog group Airparif simultaneously announced that the city would experience a potentially dangerous level of air pollution.

Airparif, which takes readings of Paris’ air quality from a hot-air balloon that rises up to 300 metres above the city, raised the pollution level to “high” at the start of the working week.

On its own 10-point scale, where 10 represents the worst cases of smog, it said Monday would hit level 8.

Warnings of Paris’ poisoned perfect weather began last Friday, and are expected to continue throughout the week.

Health authorities have said that small children, seniors and people with asthma and other respiratory illnesses should avoid greeting the early dose of springtime and remain indoors.

City officials said over the weekend that people prone to health problems should avoid “intense sporting activities” and asked people to limit travel in private vehicles and instead to favour the use of public transportation.

French environmental groups worried over the recurring spikes in air pollution and unsatisfied by City Hall’s response, are now resorting to extraordinary measures.

Three organisations this week are filing a lawsuit against persons unknown for “endangering the lives of others”. 

It is an unprecedented legal move in France, which activists hope will force French leaders to take more meaningful steps towards curbing air pollution.

A question of particles

“Environmental regulators are understaffed while outlaw factories continue to emit waste. Citizens who live near big highways and next to ageing factories are suffering in silence, asphyxiated by [the government`s] contempt,” Respire, or Breathe, one of the groups filing the suit, said in a statement on Monday.

Respire and other environmental organisations point to several studies revealing that particulate matter air pollution, which comes mainly from vehicles, factories and industry, is deadly.

The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), a branch of the World Health Organisation, officially classified particulate matter as carcinogenic in October.

Other recent studies in Asia and Europe have linked elevated levels of air pollution to reduced life expectancy and low birth weight among babies.

The recent high concentration of particulate matter in the Parisian air was blamed on the near absence of wind in the region and shortage of rain.

Following a peak in air pollution in December 2013, the Paris police prefecture lowered the speed limit for automobiles to 20 km/h in some areas and banned trucks weighing more than 3.5 tonnes from entering the city.

The French government said at the time that it would consider passing a road space rationing law in 2014, by which drivers would have to alternate the days they could use their vehicles based on license plate numbers.

Time-lapse video of air pollution peak in Paris, Dec. 2013

Date created : 2014-03-10

  • Singapore

    Singapore and Paris the world’s priciest cities, report finds

    Read more

  • Lost in smog: Beijing attempts to cut pollution levels

    Read more

COMMENT(S)