A horrific spike in air pollution in Paris Monday has led to the national Ecology Minister, Segoline Royal, granting Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo the power to impose traffic bans when pollution is high.
Royale had previously held on to that power, and insisted on limiting traffic only after three successive high-pollution days, but has now accepted the Mayor's insistence that faster action, even after one day, is needed. The bans, when instituted, limit driving to cars with designated plates—even one day, odd the next. They will now be imposed "whenever the region and city authorities demand it."
Paris, with all its beauty, struggles with pollution and traffic. Hidalgo has made that a major issue of her administration, working on reducing traffic, returning space to pedestrians, and experimenting with car-free days. Earlier this year, Paris briefly held the title of "most polluted city on earth," with estimates that Paris at its worst is like "being in a room with eight smokers."