Critical levels of pollution prompt Rome and Milan to impose multi-hour car bans, Italy

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Italian cities of Rome and Milan have imposed multi-hour bans on cars, as authorities try to overcome the air pollution that has reached critical levels in an unusually dry and warm winter. Authorities across Italy are implementing different restrictions to solve the current situation.

World Health Organization regards 50 mg/m3 of fine dust particles as the upper limit to keep the wellbeing of the urban citizens. In Milan, the measured number on December 25 was 102 mg/m3, breaching the threshold for the 32nd straight day and 97th overall this year. Usually, the rain has a vital part in reducing the effects of the smog caused by busy city life, but this winter has been exceptionally dry for the country.

Milan and the nearby town of Pavia banned cars from their roads between 10:00 and 16:00 for three days starting Monday, December 28, AFP reports. "In Rome, owners of cars with odd-numbered plates were ordered to leave them at home for the day. On Tuesday, cars with even-numbered plates will be targeted under a measure used three times this month with limited effect."

Authorities of Milan, Rome and Turin have strongly recommended using public transportation by purchasing a single ticket, which is valid for the entire day. In Lucca, Tuscany traditional New Year and Epiphany bonfires are prohibited. Naples has implemented traffic limits as only vehicles having emission standard known as Euro 4 are allowed to circulate this week. As their 50 cents to stop the pollution, the town of San Vitaliano, near Naples, has banned wood-fired pizza ovens for three months.

According to the report of European Environment Agency (EEA), Air pollution in Italy caused 84 400 premature death in Italy in 2012. About 75% of these deaths were caused by elevated levels of pollution, which caused this week's alerts, restrictions and prohibitions.

Cool winds are expected to arrive by the end of the week and reduce the pollution in crisis areas.

Featured image: Police patrols Rome to limit vehicles from entering the city center. Photographer: Andrea Ronchini/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images

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