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article imageOp-Ed: Paris to ‘pedestrianize’ the city centre permanently

By Paul Wallis     Jan 9, 2017 in Environment
Paris - Parisian traffic is famous for its eclectic, almost incomprehensible, irregularities. In a new move Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo is to permanently remove traffic from the city centre.
The new move follows a temporary embargo on traffic on the Seine caused by a sudden spike in pollution. That’s not the only reason, though. The idea is to “reconquer public space” taken over by traffic.
Paris isn’t alone in trying to get the coughing coffins on wheels out of its heart. New York is now talking about closing Fifth Avenue, both due to congestion and the fact that President-elect Donald Trump is a magnet for traffic-snarls and jams.
The usual process in getting some space for people in big cities is the creation of malls where streets used to be. Sydney, for example, has Pitt Street Mall, a block or so of pedestrian space honeycombed with underground access to other streets, etc.
The major deal, however, remains pollution. A car exhaust is like 1000 cigarettes burning continuously. The sheer volume of micro particulates means that the area around traffic is permanently polluted.
If you check out the types of materials produced by car exhausts according to the Union of Concerned Scientists, it doesn’t make for reassuring reading. These materials are extremely hazardous, poisonous and responsible for many serious medical conditions.
You’d think that a planet full of mobile gas chambers would learn from its mistakes. In Britain, the country which first introduced clean air legislation in 1950, the pollution is back with a vengeance. London broke its 2017 limit on air pollution in just five days.
It’s a global problem. In Beijing, air pollution is a chronic, serious health hazard. The Chinese are now using “environmental police” to combat the smog, which is nothing less than appalling.
Air pollution is a measure of human stupidity
It’s as simple as that. The huge amounts of research, medical proofs, and other materials pointing to air pollution as a lethal hazard to human life are being ignored. Even the most basic options, like simple exhaust filters on cars and smokestacks, aren’t even being tried. Any engineer could tell you in a few minutes how to manage pollution of this kind from any source. It’s not happening.
There aren’t any excuses, and certainly no good reasons for poisoning the entire human race. Future generations, if there are any, which is looking increasingly unlikely, will consider the 21st century the age of stupidity. They’ll be right.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of
More about Paris pollution, Anne Hidalgo, Air pollution, traffic air pollution, Fifth Avenue New York
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