The mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi.
The mayor of Rome, Virginia Raggi. Silvia Lore

Rome partially bans cars to curb pollution

THE mayor of Rome has placed a partial ban on vehicles in the Italian capital in an attempt to tackle the severe smog that has engulfed many of Italy's major cities.

A partial car-free day in the metropolis was planned for the weekend, with stringent restrictions imposed on traffic and police instructed to fine anyone who flouted the ban.

Nitrogen dioxide levels in Rome have soared to levels significantly higher than those deemed safe by European Union standards, leading mayor Virginia Raggi (pictured) to announce the city's first "eco-Sunday”.

The move comes after a period of unseasonably calm and dry weather allowed pollution to build up and smog to settle over many parts of the country.

Only vehicles deemed environmentally friendly such as hybrids and electric cars will be exempt from the ban, running from 7.30am-12.30pm and 4.30- 8.30pm, with mopeds and motorcycles also ordered temporarily off the streets.

Councillors in Turin, in northern Italy, have also voted to limit car use there, with the extent of the ban to be determined based on pollution levels over the weekend.

Environment councillor Stefania Giannuzzi said residents should use alternative transport whenever possible, even before the ban is officially put in place.

Milan is also looking at restricting traffic, with high levels of fine particle pollution recorded.