Following the overshoot of the particulate pollution alert threshold in several French departments in March 2014, the authorities have taken some measures such as free public transport, speed limits for vehicles, and alternating traffic for the first time in Paris. This situation is also found in many cities around the world such as Mexico City or Beijing.
So what does this mean for the locals?
While it remains difficult to accurately quantify its health impact on humans, when air pollution levels increase, the number of people hospitalized for lung reasons also increases. There is also evidence that air pollution kills millions of people prematurely worldwide. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), fine particulate pollution is the 13th leading cause of death worldwide.
How can you protect yourself during pollution peaks?
- It is advisable to refrain from going out during the hottest hours of the day
- Major roads should be avoided
- It is recommended not to take your car, if possible
- Don’t play outdoor sports
- Don’t smoke because in times of high pollution, it’s even more harmful!