Paris curbs car use as air pollution chokes city

City officials in Paris have taken measures to improve air quality making public transport free of charge.

Story highlights

  • French capital suffers third day of air pollution
  • Metro and bus services made free of charge
  • Car use restricted until Friday

(CNN)Air pollution in Paris has hit dangerous levels prompting city officials to curb car use and make public transport free of charge until Friday.

The city's Metro and bus services have been free since Tuesday and set days of travel have been allocated for cars with odd and even numbers, in an attempt bring down levels of PM10, a fine particulate matter, in the air.
    Pollution levels in Paris have been dangerously high since November 30, according to information from AirParif, a French air quality monitoring organization.
    Official figures from AirParif show PM10 concentration levels higher than 80mg/m3.
    "This phenomenon is linked to an accumulation of pollution in urban areas due to very stable anticyclones lingering over parts of Europe, which traps pollution at ground level and limits its dispersion," according to official information on the AirParif website. 
    This isn't the first time Paris has been hit with high pollution -- it's the ninth time this year alone.
    Free residential parking is another measure put in place by the Paris mayor's office to limit car use. Drivers ignoring the temporary measures risk being fined.
    Anne Hidalgo, Paris Mayor, has tweeted about the situation: "Paris today. The proof of the necessity to reduce the place of the car downtown. #pollution"
    "We need to change our habits in terms of urban transport," she said in another tweet. "What's at stake is our health, not our comfort."
    The Paris police have also been using Twitter to post updates for motorists.
    "#Pollution: Renewal of #alternatecirculation in Paris and its 22 suburbs"
     Parisians have also taken to Twitter to express their anger:
     "Air pollution through the roof again, you can literally smell it in the air. I'm so done with Paris," wrote @thomasbannelier.
    Others, like @Micktr suggested that Parisians perhaps need to change their mindset about travel in the city.
    "Free metro & banning certain plates are responses to #ParisPollution, but only solution is mentality-change in transportation by Parisians."
    @Challener, meanwhile, wondered why the temporary measures couldn't be in place all the time.
    "Should be a permanent weekly fixture. #parisPollution has been unbearable at times!"