Italian Cities Take Drastic Steps to Reduce High Air Pollution

Matthew 24:7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places.

A few Italian cities are taking some dramatic steps to reduce the amount of pollution in the air.

Milan is banning all private vehicles like cars and motorcycles from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. from Monday through Wednesday, according to a posting on the city’s website.

Rome has also introduced some restrictions on motorcycle and moped use due to a high level of air pollution there. The city is also saying that homes and offices must keep their thermostats between 62 and 64 degrees Fahrenheit, another anti-pollution measure.

In San Vitaliano, located just outside Naples, the mayor banned bakeries and catering businesses, including pizzerias, from burning wood chips, pellets and charcoal to cook – a staple of Italian pizza making – unless business owners first install an appropriate air filter.

Rome and Milan, Italy’s two largest cities, both rank in the top 20 when it comes to Europe’s most polluted cities, according to the Soot Free for the Climate campaign. Both have previously restricted traffic to fight pollution, according to a BBC report, and are doing so again because there hasn’t been any recent rain to help sweep away the smog.

San Vitaliano, on the other hand, is a relatively small municipality of about 6,000 people, though officials there are no less concerned about air pollution’s impact on public health.

The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 7 million people died as a result of air pollution in 2012, the most recent year for which data is available. That represented about 1 in 8 global deaths.

The WHO has said polluted air is the world’s largest environmental health risk as it can fuel other issues like heart and lung diseases. The organization is especially concerned about fine particulate matter, which can adversely affect one’s health even at relatively small levels.

In issuing his edict, San Vitaliano mayor Antonio Falcone noted the city “has recorded high values ​​of pollutants,” particularly the fine particulate matter, and no one has been able to determine the source of the problem, which has worsened as temperatures became colder.

Meanwhile, the BBC reported Thursday that 10 cities in northeast China have asked residents to stay inside because of dangerous air pollution.

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