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Barcelona Needs Swift Action Against Pollution

The capital of Catalunya is suffering from persistent high pollution due to car density and the largest number of motorcycles in Europe. City administrators, aware of the situation, have been unwilling to take any action that would upset drivers.
January 6, 2017, 5am PST | PabloValerio | @pabl0valerio
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This week I was pleasantly surprised to see a new campaign on the Barcelona City Council website showing the city’s big pollution problem and laying out its main causes and consequences.

Source: Barcelona City Website

Barcelona is not alone. Just last week Madrid, for the first time ever, implemented its pollution protocol level 3, which means that half of the cars were banned from entering the city center (inside the M-30 beltway). Level 2 (banning curbside parking) had been implemented several times last year, as the capital of Spain continuously breaks the EU limits on particulate matter (PM) and Nitrogen Oxide (NO2).

As other cities have discovered, limiting incoming private motor traffic helps curb pollution, alleviate congestion, and reduce transit times. The possibility of creating a congestion charge in Barcelona, similar to the one in London, has been suggested several times in recent years. But the lack of political will of different administrations has guaranteed that those proposals never go further than the paper they’re printed on.

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Published on Thursday, January 5, 2017 in Cities of the Future
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