A prolonged period of sunny weather with no rain and little wind has triggered the so-called “smog emergency” across much of the country.
Air pollution has exceeded normal levels for up to 10 consecutive days in Milan, Rome, Florence, Turin, Venice and parts of Emilia-Romagna.
With the smog expected to persist for several more days, numerous cities have introduced restrictions on driving, central heating and open flames, including a ban on diesel vehicles in central Rome that is expected to affect around 1 million drivers.
The emergency concerns levels of fine particle pollution known as PM10, which can be linked to respiratory disorders, allergies, poisoning and cancer.
Italy has a permitted limit for fine PM10 of 50 micrograms per cubic meter.
In the areas of the country which have exceeded that level in the past fortnight, the air quality has become “dangerously poor”.
The measures implemented across Italy on Tuesday include:
- Rome: ban on all diesel vehicles in the “Fascia Verde” limited traffic zone between 7:30-10:30 am and 4:30-8:30 pm, with all-day restrictions on higher-polluting vehicles in emissions categories Euro 0-3.
- Milan: heaviest polluting diesel vehicles (Euro 1-4) are banned and drivers are required to switch off their engines while stopped. Bonfires, barbecues and fireworks are also banned.
- Turin: ban on diesel vehicles up to and including older Euro 5 models for most of the day.
- Emilia-Romagna (Piacenza, Parma, Reggio Emilia, Modena, Ferrara, Ravenna): Euro 1-4 diesel vehicles are banned from 8:30 am to 6:30 pm. Heating is limited to 19˚C in homes and 17˚C in shops.
- Venice: all-day ban on two-stroke Euro 0 motorbikes, Euro 0-1 petrol cars and Euro 0-4 diesel cars, as well as Euro 1-3 diesel goods vehicles.
- Florence: restrictions for most of the day on two-stroke motorbikes, Euro 1 petrol vehicles, Euro 2-3 diesel vehicles, and Euro 1-2 goods vehicles.