Paris bans half of cars to tackle new peak of pollution

Paris has temporarily barred half of all cars from traveling on city streets and made public transportation free for the day as it battles a peak in pollution.

Continue Reading Below

Facing red-alert levels of pollution since Nov. 30, Paris City Hall said the situation poses a significant risk to residents' health. Authorities say pollution is due to weather conditions and a heavy dependence on diesel fuel.

To tackle what City Hall describes as an "exceptionally serious" crisis, Paris's Velib bike-share and Autolib electric cars were made free Tuesday, as well as the Paris metro and bus services. In addition, only cars with even-numbered plates were allowed to drive Tuesday in the French capital and its close suburbs.

City officials say it's the ninth time this year that Paris is facing a pollution peak.