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Environment

May 09, 2020 - Euractiv

How to keep cities pollution-free after virus lockdowns lift

How to keep cities pollution-free after virus lockdowns lift
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As authorities across Europe prepare for a stepwise lift of coronavirus lockdown measures, they are facing a make-or-break moment for urban mobility. Yoann Le Petit details four proven strategies that should keep cities free of pollution as normality starts to return.

Yoann Le Petit is clean vehicles and new mobility officer at green NGO Transport & Environment.

The decisions taken in the coming weeks will define how healthy, resilient and liveable our cities will be in the future. Without decisive action, the recent drop in air pollution would sadly remain a breeze of clean air, soon replaced by a rapid return of toxic fumes as already observed in China, with people switching to private cars and avoiding public transport.

This risk is particularly worrying given the growing evidence indicating that air pollution probably makes us more vulnerable to the effects of the virus.

But every crisis is an opportunity and the good news is that research suggests that people are more likely to adopt new mobility habits at key moments of change in their lives.

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