No Traffic in Milan for Three Days As Authorities Impose Ban

Street with light traffic in Milan, Italy 1 photo
Photo: V. Dzhingarova
Italians can party hard this Christmas weekend. They don't have to worry about driving to work on Monday with a huge hangover. Because they won't be allowed to drive at all.
Local authorities in Milan will impose a three-day ban on all vehicles except public transport, in an effort to lower the worrying pollution levels. To be completely honest, the ban will only be in effect from 10 AM to 4 PM, so Italians could potentially drive to work and back home without restrictions. But that makes for a far less interesting intro, doesn't it?

Milan's mayor, Giuliano Pisapia, also asked that fireworks not be used in Christmas celebrations, for fear of worsening the smog. The official has announced that people will be able to buy a cheap $1.65 ticket and travel the entire day on any form of public transport.

Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Europe and had another ban on vehicles before, in 2007. In Spain, authorities imposed a 56mph restriction in the Barcelona area last week, while parking in the city centre of Madrid was forbidden on two occasions.

In China, the worst smog situation in Beijing history has called for a traffic restriction. Although cars were only allowed on roads on alternate days, based on their plates, Chinese media estimated that nearly 113,000 drivers broke the rule.

Air pollution is believed to be the cause of no less than 1,2 million deaths per year in China. An estimated 38 percent of the population is breathing unhealthy air and nearly 60 percent of the underground water is contaminated with pollutants. Beijing smog is rumored to be at the root of poor visibility which led to a 33-car pileup that claimed six lives earlier this month.

Rome is also enforcing similar restrictions on cars and motorcycles until Wednesday, while elsewhere things are far more serious. The mayor of San Vitaliano, a comune of Naples, has banned the use wood-fired ovens until pollution filters are fitted to them. So no more pizza. Oh, the humanity!
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