Air pollution alert raised in Barcelona

December 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.

Explore further: Hong Kong chokes under 'worst' air pollution

Related Stories

Hong Kong chokes under 'worst' air pollution

August 2, 2012

Hong Kong choked under the worst smog ever recorded in the city Thursday, with residents warned to stay indoors, away from the blanket of toxic haze, officials said.

Smog in Indian capital blamed on vehicle increase

November 7, 2012

A choking smog that has enveloped New Delhi for more than a week has been partially caused by a rapid increase in vehicles on the streets of India's capital, environmentalists said Wednesday.

Tehran governor orders shutdown over pollution

January 3, 2013

Schools, universities and government offices in the Iranian capital will be closed on Saturday for the second time in a month because of high air pollution, Tehran governor Morteza Tamadon said Thursday.

Recommended for you

Earth's mineralogy unique in the cosmos

August 26, 2015

New research from a team led by Carnegie's Robert Hazen predicts that Earth has more than 1,500 undiscovered minerals and that the exact mineral diversity of our planet is unique and could not be duplicated anywhere in the ...

2 comments

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

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.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.