After images emerged in mid-March of the Eiffel Tower and Sacré Coeur almost completely concealed by heavy air pollution, Paris was declared the most polluted city in the world - worse than notoriously polluted cities like Shanghai and Delhi. The government has been swift to act, instigating an emergency Paris Respire anti-pollution program that aims to halve the number of cars on the capital's roads.
It's now been announced that they're going one step further and closing the iconic Champs-Elysees on the first Sunday of every month starting May 8 (May 1 is a public holiday in France). Nine new routes will also become pedestrian-only on Sundays and public holidays, adding to the 13 roads already restricted under the program.
The noxious smog is responsible for as many as 42,000 deaths in France each year, according to data from the World Health Organisation. On the upside, police have reported that the introductory anti-pollution measures have already reduced traffic jams in and around Paris by up to 40 per cent.