The City of Smog?


My beloved Paris was totally in smog on Friday, it was that bad that I could hardly see the Eiffel Tower from our office. Since Friday public transport such as metro, Vélibs and Autolibs has been free of charge to use due to the risk to the health by the increased pollution in the air. The number of pollution partculates measured 180 microgrammes per cubic metre which is more than double the safe limit, 80 microgrammes. The same day in Copenhagen the index was measuring 40 while in Shanghai 168, just to give you a comparison.

As from today, Monday, alternate driving is obligatory but to be honest I don’t think people will follow that since the fine is only 22 EUR for the drivers. And after reading comments on different articles in this matter it seems that instead of finding solutions for improving a good quality of air people are trying to figure out how to get around the rule. In a poll at Le Figaro the majority of the people are against this rule of alternate driving. And the head of a driver’s association, 40 Millions d’Automobilistes, finds the measure (that is used worldwide) to be “unfair and stupid”. I’m not saying that cars are the only reason behind this peak, it is the climate changes..and there are many factors behind.
I must admit I’m very surprised over peoples reactions here. If this would have happened in Sweden or Denmark, people would have been trying to find solutions in order to change the situation to the better. What I’m seeing here is that people denies the fact behind the pollutions, some blame that other countries are worse (but WHY compare with the worst countries when you can act and become among the better ones and act like a role model??) they try to find a way around the problem and some frankly just don’t care: “My lungs are already polluted by cigarettes, so I don’t really care” , quote from a 29 year old woman in Paris

About Author

This Paris blog is created and maintained by Solli, a Swedish Expat living in Paris working as a Photographer. When she is not behind the lens or setting off to a new destination she loves to be in the kitchen and play around with whole, organic and seasonal food. In this blog she shares some glimpses of her everyday life as a bonne vivante wherever in the world she might be. Enjoy following her journey through life...


  • Karine Ardault
    17 March 2014 at 8:24

    Solli, as you may have noted the situation is quite exceptional. People are not used to it. What people are not happy with is that this measure comes quite late after the problem erupted. The other problem is that most of the vehicles concerned by the ban are not responsible for the kind of pollution we are facing now (motorbikes, recent car not using diesel). Authorities would be taken more seriously if the issue of pollution would have been handled with long term measures; everything would make sens then. I have personally refrained from taking my car in the past few days and everyday I take measures to refrain my ecological impact on the planet but I do find that the measure announced over the week-end is, as we say in French, a band-aid on a wooden leg ;)

  • Solli Kanani
    18 March 2014 at 1:38

    Karine, I’m happy to hear your point of view of this situation. I’m quite surprised though that this issue hasn’t been handled earlier? It’s not something new that the air in Paris is very polluted. Already in 1997 the restricted driving scheme was introduced, even though only for one day, because of the very polluted air. That was 17 years ago….and I’m very curious what the authorities has done since in order to reduce the pollution in the air? What makes me sad is the ignorance and the lack of spirit of humanity among the people (today I saw many cars that should not have been on the roads and even a car on the street with the engine turned on..some people give a darn). It seems also the discussion stays on a level where it’s important to show who is right etc rather than putting heads together and finding solutions and create a better environment. And it’s not just a problem in Paris, but around in many cities and countries in the world. But I can only give my reflections on what I see and experience here ;-) I’m happy to hear you do your best in order to refrain your ecological impact on the planet and I hope you encourage people around you to do the same.

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