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Air pollution alert raised to red for Var and Bouches-du-Rhône

Everyone in these departments should take steps to mitigate the effect of the pollution. We look at what residents are recommended to do 

The departments of Var and Bouches-du-Rhône have raised their alert level to one (red) Pic: yod370 / Shutterstock

The departments and Var and Bouches-du-Rhône in the south of France have both raised their air pollution alert levels to red today (January 14).

Current weather conditions mean that pollutant particles are accumulating close to the ground, and so are reaching concerning concentrations.

In France there are four levels of pollution alerts: ‘pas de procédure’ (normal conditions), procédure d’information-recommandation, alert level one (red) and alert level two (dark red).

At the information-recommandation level, the health of certain vulnerable groups may be impacted by exposure to the air and residents are encouraged to reduce emissions if possible. 

At alert level one and two, the health of the whole population could be impacted by exposure to the air, and urgent measures are introduced. 

When pollution rises to level one, all residents should: 

  • Reduce and, if possible, delay intense exercise outdoors
  • Limit exposure to irritant substances such as tobacco, paint, wood-fired stoves etc
  • Make sure to air out rooms where possible
  • Consult their pharmacist or doctor if they experience respiratory problems
  • Try to car share, take public transport, walk or cycle where possible 
  • Respect rules banning the burning of waste outside 
  • Delay maintenance or cleaning work which requires the use of solvents, paints or varnish.

Vulnerable people or people sensitive to high pollution levels should: 

  • Avoid travelling on busy main roads at rush hour
  • Delay activities which require more physical exertion and try to keep outings short.

People are classed as vulnerable if they are over-65, pregnant, newborn babies, children under five, asthmatic or if they have a heart or respiratory condition. 

‘Sensitive’ people are those for whom symptoms appear or worsen during pollution level peaks, including diabetics, individuals who are immunosuppressed and neurological, cardiac and respiratory patients.

You can read more about the advice for level one pollution alerts on the Bouches-du-Rhône and Var prefecture websites. 

You can follow the current pollution alerts on Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur website AtmoSud.

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