The cessation of activity during confinement contributed to a significant reduction in pollution in Paris. With deconfinement, these figures are increasing, but gradually. Good news for Charlotte Songeur, engineer at Air Parif, as she explains on Europe 1.


Deconfinement is synonymous with a return to Paris air pollution. During confinement, emissions, especially those linked to road traffic, "had experienced a brutal and unprecedented fall, (...) divided by 4 compared to pre-confinement levels" in Île-de-France, wrote Wednesday in an Airparif press release, which monitors air quality in the capital region. "Over the period from 11 to 31 May, the gradual resumption of activities, and particularly of traffic, led to an increase in the quantities of pollutants released into the atmosphere for nitrogen oxides (pollutant mainly emitted by road traffic, editor's note) and particles (PM10 and PM2.5) at levels equivalent to 80% of the emissions observed before confinement, and up to 90% for the ring road ", indicates the organization. Charlotte Songeur, engineer at Air Parif, was the guest of Europe 1 on Wednesday to comment on these data.

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Nearly normal emissions on the device

During confinement, "there was a sharp drop in concentrations and emissions. As a result, there were fewer pollutants in the air than people breathed," confirms Charlotte Songeur. An observation that is not limited to the Île-de-France. During the confinement, all the control bodies reported "really similar figures on all the agglomerations" with modulations by region, depending on whether they use "more or less wood heating for example".

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"This fall was really brutal and there has been a gradual recovery since deconfinement, we have returned to 80% of the usual level", details Charlotte Songeur. "Obviously we expected a recovery. The good thing is that it has been gradual, we have not yet fully returned to all sectors, because traffic has not yet returned 100% so this is something positive, we still have an impact on several pollutants and in particular nitrogen dioxide ". The only exception, therefore: the Paris ring road "where we almost returned to normal broadcasts". What questions engineers is "how will it be able to last and how to act in the long term?"

"There are a lot of soft mobilities which are privileged"

The most viable option is the use of so-called "multimodal solutions to improve everyone's air quality". The objective is to use "your car, when you are far from the urban center, to go from one pole to another, to use public transport over long distances, obviously when you can and there will be less of physical distance to be respected, and then use soft mobility as soon as you are in the dense center of the agglo ".


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Soft mobility is above all "cycling, going on foot" and "teleworking for periods which are possible for companies that can telework". The confinement, however, initiated behavioral changes: "there are a lot of soft mobility that is privileged in several municipalities, it works, we see that there are more cyclists, I see it every day on the bike paths ".