ITALY: Particle levels plummet during traffic bans

Day-long traffic bans in Milan and Como have led to significant drops in particle levels. Italy's main environmental NGO has asked political parties to endorse a plan for referenda on sustainable transport.

Legambiente, a national environmental NGO, has called on all Italian political parties to respond to its proposal for a series of referenda in Italian cities on sustainable transport, protection of historic city centres and the possibility of introducing more car-free neighbourhoods.

Bans on vehicles not fitted with catalytic converters took place in Milan on 10 and 11 January, with a further ban on all private motor vehicles imposed on 16 January. Particle levels dropped to 35µg/m3 after the 16 January ban – below the legal limit of 40µg/m3 introduced in Italy last year. Prior to the bans, on 9 January, the particle level was recorded at 140µg/m3.

Legambiente’s call for referenda on sustainable transport has been endorsed by the Social Democrats, but other parties have failed to respond. The environmental organisation argues that Italians want to see an improvement in urban quality of life and that politicians have failed to tackle the issue.

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