Environmental pollution is a global health problem that in the case of the European Union causes 400,000 deaths a year. Pollution levels in more than 130 European cities exceed established limits.
Germany is one of the countries obliged by the European Commission to face the problem in its cities and as a first response, the proposal arises that public transport be free.
Official measurements reveal thatresidents of German cities breathe dangerous amounts of nitrogen dioxide. The cause is the dreaded diesel, more specifically thenitrogen dioxide (NO2), a gas that irritates the respiratory tract and comes mainly from the exhaust pipes of vehicles.
The measure that promises to reduce pollution
The plan presented by Merkel's chief of staff, Peter Altmeier and the Minister of the Environment to the European Commission consists of a preliminary phase of implementation of free public transport in five cities (Bonn, Essen, Mannheim, Reutlingen and Herrenberg) before the end of 2018. If the results are positive, it will be expanded to other cities until reaching the main ones in the country such asMunich, Hannover, Cologneor the capital, Berlin.
There are still some doubts about the effectiveness of the project by the Association that manages German public transport. The main problem lies in how to compensate the revenue obtained from public transport without putting the economy at risk. For example, Hamburg generates 830 million annually in ticket sales. And also, evaluate how to face the increase in services and personnel necessary to face the demand of new users who leave the car, for public transport.
Among other measures, the project contemplates reducing the circulation of cars in the center of the city, promoting electromobility, restricting the volume of taxis and encouraging car sharing. For heavy goods traffic they should establish "low emission zones".
"We are ready to take that step"German government spokesman Steffen Seibert confirmed Tuesday in Berlin during a routine media appearance.
Between relieved and worried, representatives of the regional and local administrations have been taking the floor to demand more concreteness."The central state must say how it intends to finance that", indicated in statements todpa Michael Ebling, Mayor of the City of Mainz and Chairman of the Municipal Enterprises (VKU in its German acronym).
“Free public transportation is a visionary idea that needs several tests to see if it works.It cannot be implemented in the short term"He added.
With information from: