December 2016 – Air pollution reached record levels

In December, France had its longest pollution peak for at least ten years. The concentration of fine particles remained at a level 4 to 5 times higher than usual. This phenomenon was due to a seasonal increase in particulate emissions, particularly dependent on heating. The meteorological conditions, favourable to the pollutants maintenance near the ground, reinforced it.

A smoggy month in Paris

In December, two pollution peaks hit Paris because of heavy concentration of fine particles.

Particles

Pollution by fine particles earlier last month episode resulted in binding measures such as lowering the speed limit by 20km per hour, an alternate circulation and a ban on the use of wood-burning stoves. As one can seen from the graph, air quality deteriorated even more on 30 December. That second peak of pollution was more intense than the previous one but the prefecture of Paris did not react with as much energy.

Particles

The capital city was not the only one affected. Except for Nice, the major cities in France recorded at least 10 days of high pollution.

Paris was not better off than London or Berlin

Particles

On our graph, one notes that Berlin had a week of low pollution last month. It was better than London and Paris. In China and India, one suffocated. At the beginning of winter, the PM 2.5 particulate concentrations were 360 micrograms per cubic meter in Beijing and 900 in Delhi. The level recommended by the WHO is 10 μg.m3.