Different cities are taking different approaches to reducing both pollution and car usage. While Londoners are charged a fee for entering the central district of the city, certain German cities are now banning the most pulluting cars from downtown areas. Next time you’re considering driving your black smoke-spewing clunker into central Berlin, Cologne, or Hanover, think again!
Cars in the three cities are now required to wear a colored pollution index (green, yellow, or red) to show the vehicle’s pollution levels. The fourth and worst option, vehicles whose pollution levels are worse than the red label, are the ones which are no longer allowed to enter the city center. These vehicles are an estimated 1.7 million vehicles. Those vehicles caught entering the city will face a fine.
The reform “is the most serious attempt until now to get to grips with the most serious source of air pollution, which causes 75,000 premature deaths per year,” said German green group Deutsche Umwelthilfe. Anything that will get people to use public transportation, and that ensures that the worst polluting vehicles are slowly taken off the roads is fine by us. 20 more cities in Germany will follow suit this year.