Intelligent Energy

Arrivederci, automobile!

Arrivederci, automobile!

Posting in Cities

Leave your Ferrari on the driveway in Milan this afternoon. The city bans all vehicles for a day after pollution hits a dangerous level.

Leave your Ferrari, your Fiat or your jalopy on the driveway if you're in Milan today. With pollution on the rise, the city has ordered all vehicles off the street.

It will be a lot harder to spot a Lamborghini or a Ferrari in Milan today – the flash car capital of Italy has banned all vehicles from its streets for the day.

According to the BBC, Milan exceeded a statutory pollution limit for 12 consecutive days, triggering a ban on all traffic per a 2007 law.

Satellite images show that Milan is one of the most polluted cities in Europe, the BBC notes.

About 120,000 vehicles will have to remain at home, in garages and on street sides according to an estimate by Corriere della Serra newspaper. The ban took place at 8 a.m. local time and runs through 6 p.m.

Milan ordered the most heavily polluting vehicles off city center streets last Thursday. Today’s ban covers all vehicles.

The 2007 law prohibits traffic when pollution exceeds 50 micrograms of particulates per cubic meter of air over 12 days, the BBC notes. It was last fully enforced in February, to the chagrin of car enthusiasts.

In a case of curious bedfellows, automobile junkies are not the only ones who object to the ban. Some environmentalists argue that the city should improve its mass transit systems rather than ban all traffic, as a means to reduce pollution and CO2 emissions.

Photo: Damian Morys/Wikimedia

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Mark Halper

Contributing Editor

Mark Halper has written for TIME, Fortune, Financial Times, the UK's Independent on Sunday, Forbes, New York Times, Wired, Variety and The Guardian. He is based in Bristol, U.K. Follow him on Twitter. Disclosure