Rome plans to ban all diesel-burning vehicles by the year 2024.
As many European cities struggle with air pollution in their downtown cores, some are turning to banning diesel cars as a solution. One such city is Rome, an ancient city filled with outdoor monuments and smog caused by a majority of diesel-burning cars.
To combat urban smog and protect their heritage, mayor Virginia Raggi announced that Rome will ban all diesel vehicles by 2024.
“If we want to intervene seriously, we have to have the courage to adopt strong measures,” Raggi said in a statement on Facebook.
The move follows closely after German courts announced that it was legal for cities to ban diesel cars in order to combat pollution and stay within European Union regulations on emissions. Rome suffers from some of the worst traffic in Europe with nearly two-thirds of driven cars being diesel-fueled.
Most of Rome’s economic output is not connected to any form of heavy industry, according to Reuters, so the bulk of emissions can be blamed on vehicles.
In an attempt to get a handle on urban smog, Rome has tried a number of solutions with little success. On days where pollution reaches unacceptably dangerous levels, city officials announced a ban on driving older cars that tend to pollute more than newer models. They’ve also taken a page from Mexico City and banned all cars with license plates ending in even or odd numbers from driving on heavy pollution days.
However, the measures have been less than successful. City police tend to ignore infractions, and many local residents get around the even/odd number ban by purchasing a cheap used car with an alternate number from their regular car.
The issue of smog is particularly worrisome in Rome, where tourism accounts for much of its GDP, but many of its attractions are outdoor monuments vulnerable to the effects of smog. According to the ministry of culture, 3,600 stone monuments and 60 bronze sculptures are vulnerable due to Rome’s urban smog problem.
Rome now joins many cities worldwide in banning certain or all cars in an effort to combat urban smog. Paris announced it will ban all gas and diesel vehicles by 2025, while Madrid, Athens, and Mexico City will only ban diesel cars.