Parisian Woman Sues France for Smog
Clotilde Nonnez is a 56 year old yoga teacher living in Paris. She is currently suing the country of France, holding the state responsible for damages to her health due to pollution. Nonnez has lived in Paris for thirty years. During this time, she claims, her health has continuously deteriorated. She blames the leadership of her country for these health problems,especially since Paris reached record pollution levels last December. She thinks that the state of France failed to protect her from this dangerous smog.
According to her lawyer François Lafforgue, air pollution causes 48,000 deaths per year in the country overall.
Speaking to Le Monde, Lafforgue said that “the authorities’ lack of action in tackling air pollution” was responsible for health problems such as those of Nonnez. In the weeks to come, Lafforgue stated, there will be more pollution related cases brought to court, not only from residents of Paris, but those in Lyon, Lille, and other regions of France.
Paris currently attempts to combat pollution by fining any vehicle without a “Crit’ Air” sticker, indicating a clean bill of health from the department of emissions. Nevertheless, The city is constantly covered in a thick cloud of smog, painting the entire Parisian skyline in a thick coat of grey. Parisian citizens must constantly breathe in these fumes, polluted air that many doctors see to be a major cause of health problems in France.
Moreover, French authorities have attempted to mitigate pollution by restricting automobile flow to more and more designated areas, opening more streets up for pedestrian, rather than automotive, traffic.
Nonnez says that she works hard to stay healthy, beginning first as a dancer before transitioning into her role as a yoga teacher. She blames the pollution for her recent struggles with repertory issues, problems that include chronic asthma and pneumonia.
During the pollution heavy month of December, Nonnez suffered an acute pericarditis attack , an attack that was probably triggered by the effect of the pollution on her preexisting bronchial condition. She told reporters that both her doctor and cardiologist list the “rotten air” of Paris as the cause of these health problems.
“We are taking the state to task,” Lafforgue declared. By bringing cases like those of Nonnez and others to court, Lafforgue hopes that his continual efforts will bring about a stronger effort on the part of the French state to combat city pollution, making a healthier and safer environment for all of its citizens.
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