Air pollution alert raised in Barcelona

Dec 10, 2013
A general view shows the Catalan city of Barcelona shrouded by haze on December 9, 2013

Authorities have raised an air pollution alert for the Spanish city of Barcelona, a major tourist draw which has lain for days under a toxic grey mist, an official said Tuesday.

"High and a lack of wind are preventing the dispersal of polluting emissions, which are accumulating over the ," said a spokeswoman for the Catalonia regional government.

As the mist obscured the city skyline, the government issued an alert in a bid to reduce , said the spokeswoman, who asked not to be named.

It lowered the speed limit for traffic, urged citizens to use public transport and asked factories to reduce their activity in the city of 1.6 million residents.

The level of toxic nitrogen oxide gas in the air had risen above the European Union legal limit seven times since December 4, the spokeswoman said, adding however that these exceptional rises did not threaten people's health.

Barcelona draws millions of tourists a year for its nearby beaches and city sights such as the decorative architecture of Antoni Gaudi, including the Sagrada Familia cathedral.

But it also has one of the densest concentrations of motor vehicles in Europe and pollution gets trapped by the surrounding mountains, the spokeswoman said.

The alert was due to stay in force at least until Thursday.

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Thereminator
not rated yet Dec 10, 2013
Best start driving those new Leafs your making. : )
markheim
not rated yet Dec 10, 2013
It's a shame that Barcelona and China are having to say that it's the wind's fault. Of course at present time the stillness of air causes the pollution to fall down due to density, but we got all the pollution up there in the first place.

If only nuclear power didn't get such a bad name because of the first generation powerplants of Fukushima and Chernobal. Power plants today are MUCH MUCH safer.