PARIS (AP) — Paris imposed drastic measures Monday to combat its worst air pollution in years, banning around half of the city's cars and trucks from its streets in an attempt to reduce the toxic smog that's shrouded the City of Light for more than a week.
Cars with even-numbered license plates are prohibited from driving in Paris and its suburbs, following a government decision over the weekend. Around 700 police manned 179 control points around the region, handing out tickets to offenders. Taxis and commercial vehicles weren't covered by the ban.
Police had ticketed nearly 4,000 people by midday Tuesday, and 27 drivers had their cars impounded for refusing to cooperate with officers.
France's environment ministry said that by midday, lower traffic and more favorable weather patterns seemed to be having an impact on pollution. A decision on whether to repeat the measure Tuesday will be taken before the end of the day, the ministry said.
It was the first time since 1997 that the emergency measure was taken. If the pollution persists, odd-numbered vehicles will be banned on Tuesday. Public transport has been made free for a fourth day to help deal with the pollution.
Paris' anti-pollution efforts trail far behind those of some other cities. Athens has had a similar alternate driving ban in place for many years; in the Greek capital is has contributed significantly both to reducing pollution and reducing traffic.
Sao Paulo, Brazil employs a more complicated license plate-based system that assigns each car a day of the week on which it cannot be driven during morning and afternoon rush hours.
Associated Press writers Elena Becatoros in Athens and Alan Clendenning in Madrid contributed to this article.