Madrid: Old rules, new smog


Air pollution levels in Madrid rose sharply, only one day after the city's new right-wing mayor ditched the city's low-emission zones, including Madrid Central, a reduced-traffic zone that was a centerpiece of the previous administration's clean-air plan.

The move drew immediate protests (above) from groups seeking to protect the restrictions and from public health authorities. A suit filed by opponents has now put a hold on the rollback, with a judge's order temporarily reinstating the restrictions.

One of the groups opposing the rollback published the chart below, showing the sharp spike just after the rules were lifted. They had been in place only since November. The M-30 is a ring road around Central Madrid; the three indicators are for within, at, and outside the road.

Mayor Jose Luis Martinez-Almeida says that he, too, is against pollution but wants to develop a different plan which he says will be less burdensome on drivers and businesses. He declined to meet with protesters, saying he envies "how much free time they have to carry out these sorts of actions."


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