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What measures tackle traffic pollution in cities?

Measures to tackle traffic pollution in cities include implementing congestion charges, promoting public transport, and encouraging cycling and walking.

Congestion charges are fees imposed on vehicles driving within certain areas during peak hours. This measure is designed to reduce the number of vehicles on the road, thereby decreasing traffic pollution. For instance, London introduced a congestion charge in 2003, which has significantly reduced the number of private vehicles in the city centre and consequently, lowered pollution levels.

Promoting public transport is another effective measure. By providing efficient, affordable, and reliable public transport systems, cities can encourage residents to leave their cars at home. This not only reduces the number of vehicles on the road but also the amount of harmful emissions. For example, cities like Singapore and Hong Kong have extensive public transport networks that are widely used by locals and tourists alike, helping to keep their air relatively clean.

Encouraging cycling and walking is also a viable solution. This can be achieved by creating safe and convenient infrastructure such as bike lanes and pedestrian-friendly streets. Cities like Copenhagen and Amsterdam are renowned for their cycling culture, largely due to their comprehensive network of bike lanes. This not only reduces traffic pollution but also promotes a healthier lifestyle among residents.

Furthermore, cities can introduce low emission zones (LEZs) where high-polluting vehicles are restricted or banned. This encourages the use of cleaner vehicles, such as electric or hybrid cars, which produce fewer emissions. For instance, Berlin has a large LEZ covering most of the city centre, which has led to a significant reduction in pollution levels.

Lastly, cities can implement car-free days or areas. This involves closing off certain streets or districts to motorised traffic for a specific period, usually a day. This not only reduces pollution but also allows residents to enjoy their city without the noise and stress of traffic. Paris, for example, holds a car-free day once a year, which has proven to be very popular among residents and has led to a noticeable improvement in air quality.

In conclusion, there are various measures that cities can take to tackle traffic pollution, ranging from congestion charges and promoting public transport to encouraging cycling and walking. Each measure has its own benefits and challenges, and the most effective approach often involves a combination of these strategies.

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