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Milan’s Ecopass Not Working

The Milan section of the La Corriere della Sera newspaper is carrying a couple of perturbing articles today, one of which states that the Ecopass anti-pollution traffic charging system does not appear to be having any real effect.

Apparently levels of PM10 and other noxious pollutants are still far too high.

Another article, which is more worrying, especially for those of us with children, is that around 100,000 children in the high risk under 14 group are having pollution related health problems in Milan. Admissions to casualty departments in the city triple when pollution levels are high. Not too good. And I am worried about my son, especially as he has a weakness that means that he is more likely to have respiratory system related illnesses.

Solutions? First, and most painful. Extend the Ecopass area outwards. But before this can be done, new car parks need to be built near all metro stations on the periphery of Milan. The land is there, well, at the Famagosta and Cascina Gobba stations there are plots of land that could be turned into car parks, and I know of other areas. And many plots have been vacant for years, and a compulsory purchase system does exist under Italian law.

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Even if car parks cannot be built next to metro stations, they could be built just about anywhere and served by shuttle buses taking commuters to nearby metro stations. Reducing taxi fares would also make a difference.

Funding for all these changes could come from the Ecopass revenues and parking charges, plus increased public transport income.

I’m under the impression too that the number of cars within the Ecopass area is increasing, and even if the cars are low pollution models, they are not zero pollution models, hence, most probably the negligible changes in pollution levels.

Come on Moratti, if you have real power, use it. Think of the health system savings and lost productivity due to parents taking their children to the hospital. Not to mention the cost of dealing with long term health problems that all this pollution is bound to be creating.  Asthma, and allergies, all take time and money to treat.

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