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Last updated at 17:41 BST, Monday, 10 October 2011

Milan bans cars to reduce pollution


10 October 2011

Italy's business capital, Milan, banned all traffic from its streets for 10 hours on Sunday in an attempt to reduce pollution. The city is particularly vulnerable to pollution.

Mark Duff

View from the roof of The Duomo, Milan

Milan is one of Europe's most polluted cities


Click to hear the report:


Viewed from the roof of Milan's cathedral, the Duomo, the Alps appear through a brown, murky haze of pollution. Satellite images regularly show the city to be one of the world's pollution hotspots.

The problem has been made more acute now by the weather. For most of the past month, Milaneses have been basking in glorious sunshine and temperatures well above the seasonal average.

That means pollution levels have reached a level not normally seen before the cold, still days of January.

The unseasonable weather has exacerbated the two principal causes of Milan's perennial smog crisis: Italians' love affair with the car and a trick of nature. Milan lies in a shallow bowl, which traps the fumes from cars, and inefficient old household boilers.

Sunday's ban was triggered when the measure of pollution exceeded a statutory ceiling for more than twelve days.

Mark Duff, BBC News, Milan


Click to hear the vocabulary:


murky haze

air difficult to see through due to smoke

pollution hotspots

areas where the air has its highest concentration of harmful substances


severe, serious

seasonal average

usual temperatures for that time of the year






heavily polluted air that contains a mixture of smoke, gases and chemicals

a trick of nature

an event that has not being prompted by man, it happens naturally

a shallow bowl

a depressed landscape with surroundings slightly higher than the centre


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