Smog situation ends in Prague

The city will not be offering free public transport to fight pollution

Prague and the Central Bohemia region are no longer under a smog advisory. The city had been planning to debate offering free public transportation to reduce the particulate matter in the air, but that step is no longer necessary. The move would have cost in excess of Kč 4.4 million per day. If the smog situation returns, the City Council will re-evaluate the idea.

Drivers had been asked to limit automobile trips to reduce pollution, but monitored levels of traffic did not decrease significantly during the smog situation. Traffic experts say that without mandatory rules in effect, drivers are unlikely to set aside their cars. Nonetheless, the city thanked those drivers who did voluntarily leave their cars home.

The Czech Hydrometeorological Institute still lists high levels of smog particles in the air in the Plzeň region and less severe smog conditions in the Zlín, Olomouc and Ústí nad Labem regions and part of the Moravia-Silesia region. In the Zlín region the situation hes gotten worse, not better.

A smog situation was first announced in Prague on Thursday, Jan. 19. Regulations to limit pollution went into effect Jan. 21 in the Prague, Central Bohemia and Olomouc regions.

A smog situation is declared when airborne particles of a size designated as PM10 exceed the limit of 100 micrograms per cubic meter for 12 hours and are not expected to drop below that threshold for 24 hours.

The regulation limiting some industry takes effect if at least half of the stations in a region over 12 hours show average concentrations of airborne particles exceeding a limit of 150 micrograms per cubic meter, and the situation is not expected to change for 24 hours.

The smog situation was caused by cold temperatures, inversion and lack of wind. A temperature inversion is an increase in temperature with height, which creates an inversion layer. An inversion can lead to pollution being trapped close to the ground.

People in the areas still affected should continue to take some precautions, especially people with chronic respiratory conditions, heart disease, the elderly and young children. People should avoid physical stress associated with rapid respiratory rate. All people in the affected areas are asked to limit driving so as to not contribute to air pollution, and to use public transportation whenever possible.

For Information about air quality in the Czech Republic visit portal.chmi.cz (CZ)

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