Paris Bans Driving to Cut Down on Pollution

Chloe Ruffennach, Staff writer

Paris recently instated a temporary ban against cars driving with an odd numbered license plate to cut down on pollution.

On Tuesday, December 6, cars driving through Paris, France, were fined as punishment as the city pushed to decrease the amount of pollution which notoriously surrounds the famed city. Drivers with an even numbered license plate were instructed to find alternative forms of transportation on the following Wednesday.

Paris’s two-day ban marks the first in history to extend more than a day. However, according to, the alternate-day vehicle bans has been introduced four times within the last two decades.

Paris citizens were encouraged to carpool or take public transportation as an alternative during the two days that the ban was exercised. In fact, public transportation was free during Tuesday and Wednesday for those in the city and suburbs.

Those seen driving despite the ban were fined a total of 22 euros which converts to 24 US dollars, according to

This step towards cleaner air comes after a health concern arose for the city. Given that the city was experiencing the longest, most intense spike of pollution in ten years, experts and government officials were concerned. At times, even landmarks such as the beloved Eiffel Tower were shrouded in grey pollutes.

Many have been quick to take to social media with photographs of Paris clouded by a polluted haze, causing many to fear for the safety of its inhabitants. Officials fear that the high pollutant gas levels and the presence of fine lead particles will cause asthma, allergies, breathing problems and heart disease.

Paris is unfortunately not the only French city to experience high levels of pollution. In fact, Grenoble and Lyon supposedly suffer similarly to the French capital, although on a slightly smaller scale.

According to The Guardian, President of the French group Respire (Breathe), Sébastien Vray, said that there were 48,000 premature deaths in France each year due to air pollution. He stated, “It’s the third biggest cause of death, but politicians only react under the pressure of public opinion,” Vray told France TV Info.

Vray continued, stating, “It’s now 40 years that we’ve had health problems linked to air pollution. Organizations measuring air quality give the same reports each year … what are we waiting for to bring in technological change? Our car makers have known for the last 40 years they can improve their engines with increasingly efficient technology and the state must better inform the public to help them change.”

The ban is expected to continue for another day at the least, and perhaps even longer if it is deemed necessary by officials.

(Photo provided by Yahoo)