Barcelona Needs Swift Action Against Pollution


Barcelona Needs Swift Action Against Pollution

Cities of the future

The capital of Catalunya is suffering from persistent high pollution due to car density and the largest number of motorcycles of any European city. City administrators, while acknowledging the seriousness of the problem, have been unwilling to take any action that would upset drivers. 


This week I was pleasanly surprised to see a new campaing on the Barcelona City Council website showing the city's big pollution problem and laying out its main causes and consequences.


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 continously breaks the EU limits on particular matter (PM) and Nitrogen Oxide (NO2).


Barcelona City Council's new information campaign shows that Barcelona is one of the most polluted cities in the EU, surpassing Paris and London, in PM and NO2 levels. The explanation, the campaign argues, is that the density of cars is much higher. London has an average of 2,000 cars/km2, Madrid 3,000 and Barcelona 6,000.


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