Madrid lifts traffic curbs after pollution goes down

Madrid, Jan 2 (IANS) Madrid authorities on Monday lifted all traffic restrictions that had been enforced to various degrees in recent days due to high levels of pollution.

The Spanish capital in 2016 reduced average values of nitrogen dioxide (NO2) by 10 per cent, while levels of ozone molecule (O3), or “bad” ozone, were similar to those recorded in 2015, according to local air quality network data.

The weather, with less seasonal periods and heat waves than in other years, and to a lesser extent the pollution protocols and citizens’ awareness contributed to the improvement, Efe news reported.

However, for the seventh consecutive year, Madrid exceeded the European regulations on safe NO2 limits.

NO2 is a gas that comes mainly from the exhaust pipes of diesel engines and irritates the human airways.

The capital made history on Thursday when only vehicles displaying odd-numbered licence plates were permitted to travel within the M30 ring-road.