The Mayor of the French capital, Anne Hidalgo, made a statement calling for a ban on diesel cars by 2020. The main goal is to reduce the pollution of the city, since Paris' air quality is currently one of the worst on record. She will also take other precautions such as making pedestrian-only neighborhoods in the city centre and a doubling of cycle lanes. The Mayor was interviewed by "Journal de Dimanche" saying that this is only a plan, which would be discussed at a city council meeting on Tuesday.

"I want to see the end of diesel in Paris by 2020," said Hidalgo adding that she also plans limiting the number of the tourist buses that clog Paris streets, banning trucks and adding electric vans to the city's car-sharing scheme. Streets such as Champs Elysees or Rue de Rivoli, where there is a lot of traffic, could be limited to only low-emission vehicles.

Since France has the highest number of diesel cars on the road in Europe, the faster pollution of big cities like Paris is no surprise. There is a serious risk for the public health and in fact statistics say that Parisians live on the average seven months less than people not exposed to the same levels of pollution.

Diesel fumes include tiny particles and nitrogen oxides which are harmful to health. Research by the World Health Organization confirmed that although diesel engines are 20 per cent more fuel-efficient than petrol ones, and therefore produce less carbon dioxide per mile, emit other pollutants which can cause health problems including cancer.

The ideas of Hidalgo have been met with hostility by the French automakers, whose diesel technologies are among the most advanced in the world.

London will also follow Paris and ban diesel cars, has just been confirmed by experts. They expect that the Mayor Boris Johnson will follow the French capital and say "No!" to diesel powered cars within a decade. The most concerning fact supporting this theory is that London is the European capital which is the most polluted by nitrogen dioxide.

News Source: Reuters 

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