Citizens Irate As Paris Goes On Banning Spree In An Attempt To Reduce Pollution

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Paris’ citywide ban on old vehicles to cut down on pollution has motorists up in arms, with some suggesting the law discriminates against poor people, French media outlet Le Monde reports.

The ban, scheduled to start July 1, will affect all motorists with vehicles registered before 1997, as well as motorcycles registered before 1999. The law will banish the older cars and motorcycles during the weekdays, all in an attempt to quell the city’s chronic pollution.

The ban will get progressively more restrictive in 2020, and will extend to cover cars that were registered prior to 2010. Violators will face a $39 fine as of January 1, 2017.

Motorist associations are blasting the law, calling it an attack on low-income Parisians, Daniel Quero, president of 40 millions d’automobilistes, said in a press statement, adding that the law would likely bear little fruit in reducing the city’s pollution problem.

“These restrictions don’t achieve anything from an environmental point of view,” Quero said. “The only reason that Anne Hidalgo announces these restrictions is to push cars outside of the capital, without concern for the economic and social consequences.”

Motorists say they are being  discriminated against and want those who are affected by the ban to gather at a specified place “in memory of the principal of equality” and openly defy the law.

In addition to the old car ban, officials in Paris have also moved to ban plastic bags to cut down on the 17 billion plastic bags used in France each year, 8 billion are just discarded “in nature,” according to France’s Environment Ministry.

Food industry chiefs and labor unions warn the cost to customers would increase dramatically as a result of the ban — it would likely cause an uptick in the price of groceries.

Paris’s socialist mayor, Anne Hidalgo, has issued a number of puzzling solutions to pollution, including a recent move to ban cars from the Champs-Élysées on the first Sunday of every month.

The move to ban cars will affect nearly 500,000 vehicles, 13,000 motorbikes, and 50,000 trucks, or 10 percent of all motorists in Paris, according to Le Parisien newspaper.

Here is a list of all of the vehicles that will be banned.

Environment Minister Ségolène Royal will classify all cars into six categories, all of which be identified with colored stickers, or scarlet letters, placed on their windshields, making it easier for regulators to weed out violators.

The environment ministry initially planned to divide vehicles into four categories, but decided against it after determining the plan would essentially wipe out the use of every vehicle in the city – a type of progrom against vehicles.

“If we had stayed at four stickers, one-third of vehicles would have been suddenly forbidden from Paris on the 1st of July,” Christophe Najdovski, an official in charge of transportation in Paris, told reporters Friday. “This was unenforceable.”

Pollution is responsible for about 42,000 deaths per year in France, according to the World Health Organization reports.

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