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Paris car ban: High smog and pollution levels in Paris lead to car ban

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A Paris car ban is in effect starting today in the City of Lights, after government officials determined that pollution levels are reaching dangerous highs.

According to CNN on Monday, via Yahoo!, the aim is to “cut back Parisian traffic by roughly 50 percent in order to help clear the air.”

Smog concerns have left officials in a quandary as to how to go about improving on local air quality. Starting this morning at 5.30 a.m. Paris time, a car ban is in effect. Drivers will only be allowed to use their vehicles on staggered days, based on the numbers on their license plates – odds versus evens.

Only cars whose number plates end in an uneven digits are allowed to drive today; tomorrow odd-ending numbers are allowed on the road. This will continue until officials determine that the pollution is no longer at threatening levels.

Pollution concentrations reached at least 180 microgrammes of particulates per cubic meter – exceeding the allowable limits for five days in a row and prompting officials to enact the driving ban.

Environmentalists fear air pollution in Paris could become a chronic problem – rivaling smog-laden cities such as Beijing and Mexico City.

A spokesperson for France's transport ministry said: “Pollution levels will be monitored throughout the week to see if the driving restrictions will continue.”

Paris’s 700 traffic officers will be tasked with observing the passing plates of every vehicle and ensuring that residents are following the new guideline. Britons and other foreigners driving through are exempted from the ban.

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