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

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

Current weather conditions mean that polluting particles are accumulating close to the ground and thus reaching worrying concentrations.

In France there are four pollution alert levels: ‘no procedure‘ (normal conditions), information-recommendation procedure, alert level one (red) and alert level two (dark red).

At Iinformation-recommendation level, the health of certain vulnerable groups may be affected by exposure to the air and residents are encouraged to reduce emissions where possible.

At alert levels one and two, the health of the entire population could be impacted by exposure to the air, and urgent measures are being put in place.

When pollution reaches level one, all residents must:

  • Reduce and, if possible, delay strenuous outdoor exercise
  • Limit exposure to irritating substances such as tobacco, paint, wood stoves, etc.
  • Make sure to ventilate the rooms as much as possible
  • Consult your pharmacist or doctor in case of respiratory problems
  • Try to carpool, take public transport, walk or cycle if possible
  • Respect the rules prohibiting the burning of waste outdoors
  • Delay maintenance or cleaning work requiring the use of solvents, paints or varnishes.

People vulnerable or sensitive to high levels of pollution should:

  • Avoid traveling on busy main roads during rush hour
  • Delay activities that require more physical effort and try to go on short outings.

People are classified as vulnerable if they are over 65, pregnant, newborn, child under five, asthmatic or have heart or respiratory disease.

“Sensitive” people are those whose symptoms appear or worsen during pollution peaks, in particular diabetics, immunocompromised people and neurological, cardiac and respiratory patients.

You can find out more about level 1 pollution alert advice on the websites of the Bouches-du-Rhône and Var prefectures.

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

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