Mercoledì 17 Gennaio 2018 | 13:36


Italy continues to battle smog emergency

Dangerously high levels remain, despite car bans

Italy continues to battle smog emergency

Milan, December 29 - Major cities in Italy continued on Tuesday to fight a smog emergency currently facing the country, but smog levels remained high in Rome and actually rose in Milan in spite of car bans and alternative license plate measures, officials said. Tuesday was the second day of a car ban in Milan, and the second day of an alternative license plate ban in Rome. Readings in two different Milan areas on Tuesday showed Particulate Matter 10 (PM10) levels rose by 57 micrograms to 67 micrograms and from 63 to 66 micrograms per cubic meter, compared to the legal limit of 50 micrograms per cubic metre. Levels of PM10 remained high in Rome as well. Police stopped thousands of vehicles on roads in the two cities in efforts to enforce the anti-smog measures. In Rome, police stopped 1,672 vehicles and issued 178 fines, while in Milan, police stopped 1,700 vehicles and issued 310 fines. Meteorologists said there was no chance of cleansing rain to ease the situation until at least the New Year. Premier Matteo Renzi said at a year-end press conference that more can be done to combat smog and his government plans to increase electric car recharging posts from 2,000 to 20,000 over the next two years. Consumer group Codacons called car bans and alternative license plate measures "a true failure" and instead appealed to the government to make public transport in Italy's major cities free during rush hour as a measure to fight the smog emergency. "Structural measures are needed in order to discourage the use of private vehicles and support the use of public transport," said Codacons President Carlo Rienzi. Italy's Green Party held a protest in Rome over the smog emergency, calling for it to become a government priority. "There needs to be immediate implementation of a structural plan, just as (there needs to be) more public transport, scrapping of combustion engines, and a new energy policy based on renewables," said Angelo Bonelli, national Green Party president. Environmental group Legambiente said it plans to stage a flash mob Wednesday in front of the environment ministry building in Rome, to put pressure on the government to create a plan for urban public transport to combat the country's smog problem. The flash mob is set to coincide with a scheduled summit Wednesday between Environment Minister Gian Luca Galletti and Italy's regional governors and large-city mayors to discuss the current smog emergency in the country's major cities.

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