After a number of spikes in air pollution, Paris has instituted a sticker scheme that went into effect last Monday, in which cars, buses, and trucks must display stickers showing relevant information about the vehicle such as age and cleanliness. The system includes six different colored ‘Crit’Air’ stickers, with some vehicles banned from the city streets between 8 AM and 8 PM. This includes cars registered before 1996, vans registered before 1997, scooters and motorbikes from before 2000, and trucks and buses from before 2001.
The city has also introduced free public transportation on the worst days of smog and pollution. The stickers have been available since July, after the scheme was unveiled last year.
Cars without stickers could be fined €68, while trucks and lorries could fined €138. Roughly 600,000 vehicles are estimated to drive in and out of Paris daily. Local authorities have set a goal to cut that number in half to address pollution.
According to the French government, 1.4 million of the stickers had been ordered from the official website, although police found that only one in every 50 cars stopped had the sticker. Other French cities have temporarily used such schemes, but Paris is the first to make such a scheme permanent, saying it will make it easier to ban higher pollution vehicles from the city. Until now, the city has banned half of all cars based on odd or even numbered registration plates, on alternating days. Such bans have been enacted four times in the last two decades.
Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, has said she plans to continue efforts to reduce the number of cars on the streets of Paris by half. Plans include closing roads off entirely, banning diesel vehicles.
“More cars means more pollution, fewer cars means less pollution. It seems obvious but in this post-truth age there are those who would argue that fewer cars means more pollution. We prefer to stick to the truth,” Hidalgo said to the press last week.
Hidalgo has said that air pollution causes 40,000 premature deaths annually in France, despite debate over the real number by experts.
“The lead particles are found not just in the lungs, but the heart and brain, especially those of children. So we will continue to try to make Paris a city where people can breathe,” she said.
Excessive levels of pollutants and fine lead particles can lead to asthma, allergies, respiratory problems, and heart disease.