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Paris bans half of cars to help lift smog

Smog in Paris made it difficult to clearly see parts of the French city’s famous Eiffel Tower. (Patrick Kovarik/Agence France-Presse via Getty Images)

Paris took drastic measures Monday to combat its worst air pollution in years, banning around half of the French city’s cars and trucks from its streets in an attempt to reduce the toxic smog that developed last week.

Cars with even-numbered license plates were prohibited from driving in Paris and its suburbs, following a government decision over the weekend. Police set up control points around the region, handing out tickets to offenders. Taxis and commercial vehicles weren’t covered by the ban.

Police had ticketed nearly 4,000 people by midday Monday.

France’s environment ministry said that by midday, lower traffic and more favorable weather patterns seemed to be having an effect on pollution.

The city lifted the ban late Monday but announced it would review the situation daily and would consider switching the ban to odd-numbered vehicles.

Public transportation was available free Friday through Monday to help persuade residents to leave their cars at home.

Associated Press

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