According to a study from Strasbourg, children who live near busy roads have millions of particles of ultra-fine dust in their urine. Now there are calls for more and stricter environmental zones.
The data published by the Strasbourg Respire collective are alarming. Children living near busy roads have significantly more particulate matter in their urine at a young age than those living in the countryside or further away from urban areas. The nanoparticles, which are mainly emitted by diesel vehicles, have clearly been associated with diseases of various organs such as the lungs and heart, but also with mental disorders. Especially during growth, the particles can have enormous effects, similar to cigarette smoke. The collective therefore calls for a stricter ban on diesel vehicles in the Strasbourg environmental zone, which has so far been limited in space and time.
In fact, from next year onwards, the low emission zone in the city in Alsace is to be extended. This will include all 33 communes in the Greater Strasbourg area and will also ban vehicles bearing the "2" sticker by 2025, which would then affect all diesel vehicles. The zone would also be subject to permanent driving bans. The changes will therefore affect an enormous number of citizens.
However, private wood-burning stoves and industrial emissions also emit particulate matter and should be subject to much stricter regulations, according to demands by the Strasbourg Respire collective. At present, measurements of emissions from industrial installations, as in the Port du Rhin district, are rarely carried out by official bodies, but are reported by the industry itself. Moreover, the penalties imposed by the state for breaches and false statements in this self-regulation are far too low to have any effect, he said.
The fact that the city's environmental zone will be extended in the coming years seems inevitable in the light of new research findings. It is important, however, that not only citizens have to bear this burden, but also that industry contributes to clean air with stricter controls and higher penalties for offences.
Find out how the city's rules are changing and whether you will soon be affected by driving bans in Strasbourg. Our Green-Zones app will keep you up to date with the latest regulations, so you can avoid penalties.