Reducing car traffic could be the only solution to reduce air pollution

(EurActiv, 17 Jul 2019) The massive reduction of car traffic could be the best solution to sustainably improving air quality, according to a report published by France’s health and food safety agency on Tuesday (16 July). EURACTIV’s partner le Journal de l’Environnement reports.

Since the 1990s, urban air quality, particularly in Paris, has gradually improved, largely thanks to particulate filters and the evolution of European standards. This is despite the increasing numbers of diesel cars and increasingly heavy traffic.

Will the situation continue improving, and if so, what other measures will be most effective in accelerating this trend?

The French food and health safety agency (Anses) attempted to answer this question as part of its report published on Tuesday.

Taking 2014 as its reference year, the agency carried out a forecasting exercise for 2025, with several scenarios for the evolution of cars, without modifying other parameters (meteorological, demographics, other emissions, etc.).

-30% to -60% less automotive pollutants

First observation: the emissions of all the pollutants studied, at least those related to road traffic, have decreased in all scenarios, by around 30% to 60%.

This is also the case for the least ambitious ‘run-of-river’ scenario. This scenario is based on the generalisation of the particulate filter and the evolution of the EU standards.

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EurActiv, 17 Jul 2019: Reducing car traffic could be the only solution to reduce air pollution