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Air pollution in Paris

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Nov 26th, 2014, 10:03 AM
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Air pollution in Paris

Just read an article in The Telegraph that the air is so dirty in Paris that the mayor is going to ban high CO2 emission vehicles like those using diesel from entering in 2015. Can't see how he'll be able to do this but ... When we were there in March, the route from Amsterdam to Paris was horribly polluted, and the French declared a couple of days fare-free on public transportation to encourage people not to use their cars. Now, that would be a great idea but forever, not just a couple of days !!
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Nov 26th, 2014, 10:57 AM
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Flying from Bologna to Paris in October, we were dismayed at the layer of smog hanging over the Alps.
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Nov 26th, 2014, 11:02 AM
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I don't know why he couldn't do that. If it were a law, such vehicles would be subject to fines if entering, I suppose.

I've lived in LA which has bad pollution at times, and didn't notice Paris as being anything unusual. Last July I was in Mexico City which is one of the filthiest cities I've ever seen regarding pollution. It was shocking, the sky was gray and it wasn't due to clouds but it looked overcast all the time just due to pollution. They have a really bad attitude towards the environment that, people don't care and don't do much to help things. Lots of trash in the streets, the pollution was horrible and everyone there encourages people to take private single cars (like taxis) just go get across the city, instead of staking public transportation. So compared to Mexico City, Paris is heaven. I've read cities in India and China and Russia are the worst in the world, though.

I don't think Paris could afford to give people free public transportation all the time, I don't think they make any money on that as it is. And if they do that, of course, it benefits the millions of visitors who won't be paying, and they aren't really a likely target of needing to use cars as they don't have any.

There are far worse cities in Europe than Paris, like some in Italy, Antwerp and some eastern European countries where it can be pretty bad (like Poland and Bulgaria are the worst).
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Nov 26th, 2014, 11:47 AM
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Supposedly Delhi is the most polluted city in the world. When we were in Cairo, the air was yellow. Thought it was a romantic sandstorm, but no, was pollutiom. We had to leave Pasadena in 1970 because the air was so bad, but they have cleaned it up. And when we were in LA in perhaps '88, there was a huge storm and winds - really damaged the Sta. Monica pier - and blew all the smog away. Incredible difference. Could even see the snow on the San Gabiel mountains from Laurel Canyon. One could understand why people moved there in the 20s when my in-laws did.
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Nov 26th, 2014, 12:01 PM
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The only air pollution we saw and smelled was from all the smokers. I had commented on so many recent trips how smoking seemed to have been on the decrease in Europe. Our last trip was the worst, and it seems just about anyone under 30 is smoking.

One young woman chain smoked six cigarettes next to us at lunch, pausing only to nibble at her food. She was sitting across from a pregnant woman, and I assume the baby's first words will be "Marboro, s'il vous plaît." All that smoke "helped" make what I contracted over there a lot, lot worse. I think my days at sitting at outside cafes in Paris will be extremely limited.

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Nov 26th, 2014, 12:03 PM
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anway anyone with breathing problems should monitor the air quality in Paris before they go - especially in sweltering months of summer when such alters are common IME throughout major French cities. Paris may take your breath away, literally!
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Nov 26th, 2014, 12:03 PM
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anway anyone with breathing problems should monitor the air quality in Paris before they go - especially in sweltering months of summer when such alters are common IME throughout major French cities. Paris may take your breath away, literally!
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Nov 26th, 2014, 12:18 PM
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" the French declared a couple of days fare-free on public transportation to encourage people not to use their cars."

Typical Frog prodigality. And I bet they wangled it so our taxes paid for it.

Just tax the cars out of existence. A €25 a day congestion charge would get the lazy sods onto the metro a great deal faster than even more handouts.

I strongly doubt anyone saw smog over the Alps, BTW. Low-lying cloud - especially in autumn - is common and as natural to the region as wasting public money is among EU politicians.
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Nov 26th, 2014, 12:22 PM
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Paris suffers from geographical positioning with high hills on the west and east sides that cause pollution to gather more than it would and in Italian Alps like around Domodossola I have often seen very very heavy smog - all the way from Milan so even in the Alps it is possible.
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Nov 26th, 2014, 01:23 PM
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Madrid is in the process of changing the way you pay for parking. It started this past summer. You will have to enter the car's plate number when paying for parking. Cars with diesel engines will be charged more than cars with gasoline engines. Electric powered cars will pay the least. So much for driving a diesel.
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Nov 26th, 2014, 01:40 PM
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Part of the French problem is too many diesels that pollute, apparently, more heavily than non-diesels.
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Nov 26th, 2014, 01:51 PM
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I strongly doubt anyone saw smog over the Alps,>

Approaching the French Alps by car from Paris showed a big pall of haze - smog covering the Alps last time I went that route - the wind blows west - where would all the smog go - into some black hole?
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Nov 26th, 2014, 02:09 PM
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I remember my husband's cousin complaing about the contamination in Madrid in the early 60s, but at the same time she was proud of it. Meant the country was, at last, industrialized !!
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Nov 26th, 2014, 04:04 PM
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I'm not concerned as much about the smog as I am about all the smokers. Just came back from 19 day, 16 port cruise and smokers in every port was everywhere, constantly and very , very young. It was really a problem that could not be avoided.
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Nov 26th, 2014, 05:31 PM
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Actually, pollution in Alpine valleys is a very real problem. The narrow valley walls prevent lateral dispersion of smog produced by vehicles, heating, wood burning, etc. When this is complicated by temperature inversions and slope winds the air quality can get dangerously degraded.
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Nov 26th, 2014, 07:27 PM
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Well, Jan, that's what you get for going on one of those nasty cruises - urchins smoking on the docks - and let's not breathe in the junk from the smokestacks. Just awful.
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Nov 26th, 2014, 07:43 PM
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I'm a Los Angeles native and grew up here in the 1950s when smog was its worst. I know what smog looks like, and that was smog we saw over the Alps.
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Nov 27th, 2014, 12:47 PM
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I find the air quality in Paris pretty bad but it has not reached the levels of when I lived in Los Angeles in the 1970's.
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Nov 27th, 2014, 01:18 PM
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Yes anyone who has had more than a fleeting experience in the Alps would never say there ain't no smog there! Or else the smog addled their brains!
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Nov 27th, 2014, 03:35 PM
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Well, it is as nukesafe wrote.
The final effect is smog but it is not so much that there were so many pollutants in the air but that in fall and winter high pressure leads to inversions.
That is different from regular smog where the pollution is always visible, regardless how feasible or unfeasible the weather may be.
But there are also typical weather phenomenons in the Alps where huge patches of fog or very low clouds (not smog) appear in fall and winter - which can look like smog from a distance or when flying over. But that is a pretty normal phenomenon that happens a lot.. it is, for example, very typical to have a low ceiling of clouds in Munich (at 1,500ft altitude), but bright sunshine once you climbed a few hundred feet in the front range of the Alps to 2,500ft.
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