Smog, cars stopped today, diesel blockade

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Rain, albeit in fits and starts, has loosened the siege of fine particles on the capital. All the ECUs yesterday recorded values ​​below 50 micrograms per metrocube considered outlaw, only that of Tiburtina was still slightly beyond. More than the measures for limiting vehicular traffic, with the stop of the latest generation diesels, the weather conditions proved decisive. In summary: the maxi blockade of cars, including Euro 6 diesel, did not decrease the smog, the downpour did. Arpa Lazio’s forecasts are also positive for the next few days, the alarm should go off. It will not be necessary, immediately, to resort to the most severe and most contested prohibitions. But despite the ineffectiveness of the shutdown of the euro 6 diesel vehicles, Raggi announced yesterday that he will not reverse, there will be no changes to the resolution. In summary: if in the future we find ourselves again with fine dust beyond the limits, the maxi block will return, even for diesel euro 6.

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COMMITTEE
In the offices of Roma Capitale, in particular at the Environment Department, there is however a proposal: to install a technical committee of experts, which also involves Arpa (regional environment agency) and Ispra (Institute for environmental protection) and builds a network of countermeasures more effective, supported by scientific bases, less traumatic and more understandable by citizens. What does it mean? One of the possible ways is to modify the gradualness of the interventions by offering a wider range of options. Today there is a sort of automatism, after five days of smog, foreseen by the Municipality’s Operational Intervention Plan. On the contrary, diluting and diversifying the interventions would be a solution better understood by the Romans. Protecting Euro 6 diesels (so as not to penalize those who bought a latest generation car and therefore with less emissions) and stopping those who have a Euro 3 petrol car is one of the proposals that circulate. Yesterday, however, the Capitol reiterated that “there will be no reverse gear in relation to the restrictions on the circulation of diesel Euro 6”.

But why hasn’t a review of the anti-smog intervention plan been done before? Simply because in the last four years Rome had become a happy island, unlike the cities of the Po Valley in constant emergency: since 2017 the capital has never exceeded the annual limit of days with fine dust beyond the famous-notorious 50 micrograms for cubic meter. Until 2016 (and for the previous ten years) Rome was in constant emergency: it went from total traffic blocks to alternate number plates, each spring had already reached the 36 days indicated by law as the maximum annual limit of overrun. Well, after 41 in 2016, in 2017 we stopped, miraculously, at 26, in 2018 at 22, in 2019 at 32. This January 2020 instead made Rome fall back into the nightmare of fine particles, so much so that in seventeen days we have already had 15 exceedances, just under half of what there were in all of 2019.

CAUSES
According to experts, the cause is not traffic (there was, even with an older car park, even in 2017, 2018 and 2019), but an exceptional situation of air stagnation that has few precedents. That’s why yesterday’s rain was seen as a liberation. The data recorded by the control units that measure the levels of fine dust will be made official today, but it is already known that they are below the values ​​that trigger the alarm with the only exception of Tiburtina. However, the Capitol decided not to cancel today’s ecological Sunday, which however was scheduled and was not connected to the emergency in progress. Roma Capitale said: “We also confirm the appointment with the” Ecological Sundays “event for three other subsequent Sundays (9 and 23 February and 29 March). It does not have an emergency character but, in addition to the aim of containing polluting emissions, it intends to sensitize citizenship on environmental issues and disseminate alternative cultural models that favor a sustainable relationship with the territory “.

Unfortunately, in Rome, between closed metro stops and jumping bus rides, “alternative cultural models” do not have an easy life. To put it mildly.

Last updated: January 19, 1:41 am


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