Paris, March 23 (IANS) Paris began to restrict car use on Monday as a measure to fight surging air pollution, with police checking car plate numbers on the streets.
Only cars with odd numbers, electric or hybrid vehicles and vehicles with more than three people on board were being allowed to ply on Monday, while public transport was free for the entire day, Xinhua news agency reported.
Anyone who refuses to obey the restrictions faces a fine of 22 euros ($23.93).
French Ecology Minister Segolene Royal on Friday called for limited use of private cars and trucks on Monday. She also encouraged citizens to use clean modes of transport such as Velib and Autolib, which are public sharing services for bicycles and electric cars.
The recent increase in pollution levels has been caused by high temperatures, heavy traffic, industrial pollutants and the hot air re-circulating slowly across densely populated northern France and Paris.
However, a few hours after the driving restrictions were imposed, the French ecology minister announced they would be lifted on Tuesday in Paris and its suburbs following forecasts showing an improvement in air quality.