Rome, Milan and Turin restrict diesel-powered vehicles for pollution

Rome has forbidden, for at least three days, the circulation of all diesel vehicles as a measure to reduce harmful emissions and combat the high pollution. This

Rome, Milan and Turin restrict diesel-powered vehicles for pollution

Rome has forbidden, for at least three days, the circulation of all diesel vehicles as a measure to reduce harmful emissions and combat the high pollution. This pioneering action in the capital coincides with the restrictions on the same line that have been imposed on other cities of the center and north of Italy. After several consecutive weeks of sunny weather with no rain and little wind, have fired dozens of alerts all over the country and limitations on the traffic that, on average, will last until this Thursday.

In the capital, the city council has banned the movement of cars, diesel, vans and motorcycles during the peak hours, from Tuesday until Thursday, in the so-called green strip of the city, an urban area of about 150 square kilometers, which works as a zone of low emissions: from Monday to Friday, all vehicles prior to 1992 can't access it, nor the diesel prior to 1996. For the duration of the prohibition extraordinary, that according to the calculations of the consistory will affect approximately one million vehicles, no diesel will be able to circulate through the area in the hours busy in the morning, from 7.30 to 10.30 and from 16.30 to 20.30.

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Italy has a limit that is allowed for the fine-particle pollution (PM10) of 50 micrograms per cubic meter. Some areas of Rome —more than half of the measuring stations— have exceeded that level, above which the air quality is considered to be a potential danger to the health, for 10 consecutive days, which has led to restrictions in the circulation.

According to a study by the Higher Institute for Protection and Environmental Research Italian, Rome is the city with the highest number of vehicles in the country, with 1.6 million cars circulating in the streets that produce 57% of the air pollution, which has earned it the nickname of “capital of the pollution and the cars”.

pollution levels have also increased significantly in other large cities such as Milan, which has restricted movement on several occasions intermittently since January 3, for diesel vehicles prior to 2005, including the transport of passengers and goods and has been declared “emergency”. In Naples, from last October is in force a plan of restrictions on the traffic that is expected to finish in march of this year and that includes vetoes to the circulation during three days of the week in different time zones, with the aim of improving the quality of the air.

Turin, one of the Italian cities with major pollution problems, has opened a few months ago for a new system according to which the limitations to the circulation is established in function of the number of consecutive days in which to register excessive levels of pollution. If the toxic particles are present in the air for more than four days is activated the level 1, and so progressively until you reach the 3, with 20 consecutive days of pollution, excessive. The higher the level, increases the number of categories of vehicles that may not be circular. Currently, the northern city is located in the 2, from day 5, so that has enabled restrictions to the vehicles prior to 2009.

The adviser of Environment of the Region of Piedmont, Matteo Marnati, has asked Brussels for a european fund dedicated to environmental emergencies, and a “Marshall plan” to combat pollution. He has also claimed that the mayor of Turin, Chiara Appendino, of the Movement 5 Stars, a formation with a strong imprint of environmental, public transport is free during the days of restrictions.

despite the limitations to the traffic in several cities, Rome has been the only one that has banned the movement of all vehicles with a diesel engine, that has aroused the ire of the Union Oil company, the Italian association of oil companies, which has been charged against the provision to the town hall. “It is a decision totally unjustified from a scientific point of view that offers no environmental benefit and that, therefore, criminalize unnecessarily a broad segment of citizens”, said in a statement.

The main environmental group of Italy, Legambiente, criticized, however, the slowness with which it has reacted to the Government team of the city. “The decision has been delayed so incredible. The city council has only banned the circulation to the diesel after 10 days of poisoned air,” he said in a note.

Some representatives of the scientific community believe that this type of actions that they are taking the municipalities are insufficient and believe that it would be necessary to extend the efforts, and, for example, to establish limitations on the number of miles you can travel each and every car or a greater control of heating systems. “Gets to a lot of smokers in a closed room and asked a couple of them who stop smoking. Maybe there will be a little less smoke, but it is not until you open the window, things will change very soon,” said Cinzia Perrino, director of the Institute for atmospheric Pollution of the National Research Centre, The newspaper la Repubblica. “We took about 20 or 30 years refugiándonos in measures such as these, and little is being done to find solutions that make sense long-term,” he added.

According to a study by the american NGO International Council on Clean Transportation, which uncovered the scandal over the manipulation of pollutant emissions in diesel vehicle Volkswagen, Italy is in the ninth position in the world ranking of premature deaths caused by exposure to pollution. The researchers highlighted the alarming situation of Milan and Turin, and pointed out that around 40% of the premature deaths that occurred in 2015 because of the pollution in these two cities was caused by harmful emissions of transport.

Updated Date: 15 January 2020, 19:00

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