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Major city tackles pollution by introducing 'most ambitious' ban on cars by 2025: 'We need to eliminate the harmful gases'

The air currently "causes babies to have lung conditions and the elderly to die prematurely."

The air currently "causes babies to have lung conditions and the elderly to die prematurely."

Photo Credit: iStock

In a bold move to reduce pollution levels from dirty fuel, Stockholm will ban diesel and petrol cars from entering the city center of the Swedish capital.

According to the Guardian, it will become the first capital city in Europe to take such a significant step, with only electric vehicles allowed in the 20-block city-center zone from 2025 onward. 

"Nowadays, the air in Stockholm causes babies to have lung conditions and the elderly to die prematurely. We need to eliminate the harmful exhaust gases from petrol and diesel cars," said Stockholm's vice mayor for transport Lars Stromgren during the announcement of the ban. 

Air Quality News cited medical research that found children in Stockholm living near streets with high levels of pollution have reduced lung function. 

"That's why we are introducing the most ambitious low-emission zone to date," Stromgren continued, per the Guardian. 

The policy is also intended to benefit cyclists and pedestrians, who are exposed to vehicle pollution on a daily basis despite traveling more sustainably. 

"Many cities have implemented low-emission zones where high-emission cars are allowed to drive if they pay a charge," Stromgren said, per Air Quality News. "Stockholm's model is more far-reaching. Petrol and diesel cars are prohibited, period. It is more 'ultra' than the ultra low emission zone of London."

Stromgren listed London as an example of a city implementing policies to combat pollution from internal combustion engine vehicles, but Paris, Athens, and Madrid are also among the capitals with bans on diesel cars. 

Meanwhile, Pontevedra in Spain has banned most vehicles from the city center since 1999, and since then, pollution levels have dropped significantly, and vehicle-related deaths are nonexistent. 

In addition to lowering dirty fuel fumes, the move will also provide benefits to residents in the form of reduced noise pollution. 

According to the European Environment Agency's environmental noise expert, Eulalia Peris, long-term exposure to noise can have negative effects on the cardiovascular and metabolic system, and it can also lead to cognitive impairment in children. 

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