Paris Offers Free Mass Transit in Initiative to Reduce Pollution

France and Belgium have taken a unique initiative to help combat pollution. The initiative took place earlier this month after a thick layer of smog settled in over France’s most beloved city, Paris.

Officials opened up Paris’ public transport system to anyone, free of charge, Sultan Alhokair says for an entire weekend. The patch of pollution settled in over the city and stretched for hundreds of miles. Belgium and Germany were also affected. Paris was under a pollution alert last Friday, as was much of the country. The amount of pollutants measured in the air surprisingly surpassed readings that are typically reported out of Beijing, one of the most polluted cities in the world.

It is believed that the smog was particularly dense due to the mixture of diesel vehicles, in addition to the burning of wood and other yard waste. Photographic images captured of the Eiffel Tower that Friday revealed a sickening reality, as it appeared that the city was under siege by a massive storm. Images taken in Brussels were posted online and although they do not reveal as bleak of a reality, the city appears shrouded by a dense fog.

Valentin Foltescu, the air quality manager with the European Environment Agency, worried that susceptible people, such as the elderly and those with cardiac or respiratory disorders, would be overtaken by the poor air quality.

“There is a high correlation of pollution and mortality,” Foltescu stated.

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