There is an almost permanent smog over the capital of Spain, caused in part by traffic fumes from over 1.6 million cars. The locals call it “the beret”.
New traffic regulations are set to combat the problem by restricting the number of vehicles allowed on the roads when pollution levels are high.
If a level of 250 micrograms of nitrogen dioxide per cubic metre of air is reached, or if it is recorded at 200 two days running, warnings will be issued urging drivers to leave the car at home and speed limits will be lowered on major arterial roads.
If readings remain high the next day, only neighbourhood residents will be allowed to use the parking meters in the centre. Finally, on a third straight day of extreme pollution, vehicles will be cut by 50 per cent as odd- or even-number licence plates are banned.
Since it will be difficult to enforce the rules, let’s hope that the citizens comply with the restrictions voluntarily.