Living in Amsterdam we experience a relatively small amount of car exhaust pollution. The city is set up with a great network of public transportation, everyone uses a bicycle, and expensive parking and pedestrian areas encourages people not to take their cars into the center. People are using public spaces for growing plants and the city council encourages urban gardens and ecolabs.
Last weekend however, we experienced the opposite when we went to Paris for a weekend trip. The local municipality had acknowledged the problem of car exhaust fumes and had made the public transportation free for everyone. In the city of diamonds and rubies (front and tail lights) it seemed that even this wasn’t enough to offset the pollution hanging in the center of Paris.
Our visit to the Eiffel tower showed how bad the problem was, with the top of the tower being barely visible. (pic)
Fortunately, the Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo is aware of this issue and aims to make the city much more livable and greener. Paris just passed a new law that allows anyone to plant an urban garden within the city’s limits. Upon receiving a permit, gardeners can grow plants on walls, in boxes, on rooftops, under trees, or on fences. They can cultivate greenery in front of their homes or offices. They can grow flowers, vegetables, and fruit.
It is intended that Paris will go from one of the least green capital cities in Europe to one of the greenest.