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Paris imposes partial driving ban to fight pollution

Snapshot: All public transportation in the city has been made free to encourage environment-friendly travel.

The air pollution in the city of Paris got so bad this week, that the French government has introduced a temporary driving ban, based on a vehicle’s registration number. The new rules, which went into effect on Monday morning, aim to cut back the Parisian traffic by roughly 50 per cent in order to help clear the air. Drivers with license plates ending in even numbers have been banned from the roads on Monday, while the cars bearing odd-numbered license plates will be banned on Tuesday.

Pollution levels in Paris have reportedly, intensified in recent days due to a combination of warm, sunny days and cold nights, which keeps pollutants from dissipating. According to some reports, parts of Paris at certain times of the day have had worse air quality than Beijing. But environmental data from the European Union and other online tracking systems show the air quality in Paris is generally, significantly better than Beijing and other Chinese cities that have recently reported high levels of pollution.

The French government said the alternating car ban was agreed upon after President Fancois Hollande consulted with ministers responsible for the interior, environment, health and transportation.” The Prime Minister is aware of the difficulties this could create for Parisians, but this extra step is required," the government said in a release.

All public transportation in the city - including trains and buses - has been free since Friday, as officials try to encourage environmentally friendly travel.

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