28 Dicembre 2015
Rome, December 28 - Drivers with license plates ending in uneven numbers were banned from the taking to the roads of the nation's capital Monday as authorities tried to bring down the smog levels. In Milan, the city streets were eerily silent as 200 traffic cop patrols made sure all private vehicles stayed off the roads in a total ban. Rome Commissioner Francesco Paolo Tronca on Thursday decided to ban traffic in the capital for six hours on Monday and Tuesday in a bid to reduce pollution levels that are above the legal limit. Private vehicles will be banned from travelling in the city's Fascia Verde (Green Zone) from 10:00 to 16:00 on those days. Milan on Wednesday announced it was adopting a similar ban for three days next week, from Monday to Wednesday. The towns in the Milan metropolitan area are also taking part. Low pollution vehicles, such as hybrids, methane-powered, LPG or Euro 6 cars and Euro 2 scooters, are exempt from the Rome ban. Tronca's order also limits heating in homes and offices to 18 degrees centigrade. On the days of the ban a 1.50-euro ticket to use buses, trams and the metro in Rome will last all day instead of the usual 90 minutes. Rome has tried on several occasions to reduce smog levels by banning cars with number plates ending in an odd number from travelling on one day and then banning those ending with an even number the next, but the results have been disappointing. The situation has been made worse by a lack of rain in recent months. Milan has been over the legal smog limit for 85 days this year, Legambiente environmental watchdog group said earlier in December. The legal limit is 35 days a year of pollution with more than 50 micrograms per cubic metre of particulate matter (PM10). Particulates are the deadliest form of air pollution due to their ability to penetrate deep into the lungs and blood streams unfiltered, causing permanent DNA mutations, heart attacks, and premature death, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The World Health Organization has designated airborne particulates a Group 1 carcinogen. Turin is the next worst offender with 73 days over the limit followed by Naples with 59 and Rome with 49 days, Legambiente said.
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