The mayors of four major cities have announced they will ban the use of diesel cars and trucks in Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City by 2025.

THE MOVE TO ban diesel cars and trucks from Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City by 2025 is a bid to improve air quality. The four mayors of those cities have also announced they will provide incentives for drivers to switch from diesel.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) claims around 3 million people die every year because of poor air quality. It’s claimed around 460,000-plus people die in Europe every year because of pollution.

Why the move against diesel? Although diesel engines are cleaner than ever before they produce both particulate matter and nitrogen oxides. The former is very fine and can settle on the lungs causing breathing issues, while nitrogen oxides can just generally exacerbate breathing issues because it can contribute to ground-based pollution.

Ironically, said BBC environmental analyst Roger Harrabin governments used to promote diesel vehicles because they produced less climate-changing CO2 emissions. Harrabin claims that carmakers misled governments about the ability of the technology to clean up diesel pollution, via things like diesel particulate filters, “so now diesel vehicles are being banned to clean up local air”.

The decision to ban diesel cars and trucks was made at a biennial meeting (called the C40) of the mayors of Paris, Madrid, Athens and Mexico City. They “”commit to doing everything in their power to incentivise the use of electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles”.

“It is no secret that in Mexico City, we grapple with the twin problems of air pollution and traffic,” said the city’s mayor, Miguel Ángel Mancera.

“By expanding alternative transportation options like our Bus Rapid Transport and subway systems, while also investing in cycling infrastructure, we are working to ease congestion in our roadways and our lungs.”

In Paris, restrictions of diesel vehicles have already been introduced, with diesel vehicles built before 1997 banned from entering the city. Once a month, the Champs-Élysées is closed to traffic and a former 3km section of road way along the Seine river has been pedestrianized.

“Our city is implementing a bold plan – we will progressively ban the most polluting vehicles from the roads, helping Paris citizens with concrete accompanying measures,” said Anne Hidalgo, the city’s mayor.

“Our ambition is clear and we have started to roll it out: we want to ban diesel from our city, following the model of Tokyo, which has already done the same.”


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