In Spain, as in most other industrialised countries, air pollution in the cities has become a threat to health, and to historical building and monuments.
In Spain, as in most other industrialised countries, air pollution in the cities has become a threat to health, and to historical building and monuments. Strict measures have been introduced in Madrid to combat a recent sharp increase in air pollution levels.
SYNOPSIS: The emergency plan will remain in force for 45 days. It was introduced (on 3 December) following a spell of sunny, windless weather which favoured the build-up of air pollution, giving Spanish cities one of their smoggiest weeks on record. The strict controls include a ban on double parking of cars, in an effort to thin out the one and a-quarter million vehicles in the streets each day.
The other measures include closer inspections of industry to enforce pollution control legislation, and the burning of leaves and other solid wastes is prohibited.
Some people found relief from the smog by leaving the city for parks on the outskirts. It was estimated that pollution was a factor in dozens of deaths during the period when the levels of pollutants rose far above those recommended by the World Health Organisation, and about half of the urgent admissions to hospitals were for respiratory ailments. There are now restrictions on heating by oil and coal, and on delivery vehicles in the city.