Saturday, March 15, 2014

The air that we breathe

French Village diaries France air pollution
Hazy horizons
Breathing in the fresh countryside air isn’t always as idyllic as it sounds. This week the farmers have had a major manure spraying session leaving the village a stinky place to be. Thankfully, as the weather has been good lots of us (me included) have been out mowing, so the aroma of fresh cut grass has sweetened the air a little.

Unfortunately this early good weather has given France a problem with it’s air quality leaving the majority of regions on a high pollution alert. I am no meteorologist, but from the articles I’ve read in the French press it seems the cold nights and dry warm days have led to a build up of small dust like particles in the air. The lack of wind has left these pollutants suspended in the air, giving a smog-like film over the cities. Here in the countryside the horizon has been hazy all week, even on the sunny days and today it has taken until late afternoon to see the sun at all. With the springtime rise in pollen, those with allergies are being warned to take care. Thankfully we are not a hay-fever suffering family, although Ed has complained of sore eyes a few evenings this week.

In an attempt to reduce traffic pollution many of the larger cities have been promoting the benefits of car sharing and are encouraging the use of public transport this weekend by offering it for free. There are also speed limit restrictions in place on many of the motorways. If you are out and about in France this weekend, although facemasks are probably not necessary just yet, do take care and think before you drive.