Rome stops diesel cars as smog levels too high

Photo credit: Comune di Roma/Twitter

 ROME – Hundreds of thousands of cars were forbidden from driving in the Eternal City Tuesday as drastic measures are taken against smog, local authorities report.

 All diesel vehicles are banned for Tuesday from 7.30 to 10.30 a.m. and 16.30 to 20.30 p.m.  The most polluting vehicles had already been stopped on Sunday and Monday, while Tuesday’s measures encompass Euro-6 vehicles, which are the least polluting type of diesel car according to European Union classifications. 

 Exemptions include public transport, taxis and ambulances.

 The unprecedented measures, affecting an estimated 700,000 cars, are prompted by Rome’s smog levels being their highest in three years, Il Messaggero reported.

 Levels of PM10 particulates are over the legal limit, Mayor of Rome Virginia Raggi said in a Facebook post.

 “Everyone can do their part and contribute to making the air cleaner,” she said.

 Raggi, the Five Star Movement mayor currently also fighting a long-running battle to solve Rome’s eternal rubbish crisis, has faced heavy criticism over the issue politically.   The right-wing League party described the diesel car ban as “psychological terrorism” while the Democratic Party commented that “After three years she has not succeeded in doing anything against pollution,” Il Fatto Quotidiano reported.

 However, Rome’s smog problems are not unique.  On Jan. 8 Turin temporarily banned diesel cars of Euro-5 classification and under in an attempt to cut down pollution levels.