A French mother and daughter have launched a legal first by suing the state for damages over ill health caused by air pollution. The mother and the daughter are asking for €160,000 in damages from the state at the administrative court of Montreuil in the east of Paris. They argue the authorities did not take effective measures against atmospheric pollution, in particular during the very high pollution that Paris endured in December 2016.
The mother and daughter pair say this had an effect on their health, especially as they were living at the time in the northern Paris suburb of Saint-Ouen, just outside the clogged peripherique ring road. The peripherique – opened in 1973 – takes 1.1 million drivers a day but is also a nightmare for the 100,000 people living around it due the high levels of pollution generated by the – frequently stationary – traffic. Both say they developed respiratory problems that were accentuated during pollution peaks.
MOTHER’S WORK SUFFERED WHILE DAUGHTER BECAME ASTHAMATIC
The mother, 52, has had to take time off work and the daughter, 16, suffered asthma crises. They have since moved to the city of Orleans on doctors’ advice and their health has improved considerably. Their legal team argues that French authorities failed to implement rules to better protect the population, did not use all the measures at their disposal and did not properly enforce measures when agreed. In total, around 50 people across France are taking similar actions against the French state.
PARIS WORKING ON MAKING CITY CAR AND BIKE FRIENDLY
As pollution climbs up the political agenda ahead of 2020 municipal elections, Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo is looking at proposals to limit pollution on the péripherique, including cutting the speed limit to 50 kilometres per hour (30 mph). There are also several schemes underway to make Paris more car and bike friendly and remove or reduce traffic in congested areas.
The outcome of the legal suit by the mother and daughter sets a unique precedent while also pressurizes authorities to not take citizen’s right to health for granted. Bureau report – NMTV News.