The very first International Day of Clean Air for blue skies will be held on September 7th, 2020. The Day aims to raise public awareness at all levels that clean air is important for health, productivity, the economy and the environment.

We all know that air pollution in cities can reach unacceptable levels, and Spain is no exception. Recently, both Madrid and Barcelona have introduced initiatives to alleviate the problem.

The Madrid 360 plan restricts traffic in low-emission zones while Barcelona’s superblocks scheme is pedestrianising certain parts of the city.

The superblocks or superillas as they are known in the city, aim to respond to the scarcity of green spaces, high levels of pollution, environmental noise, accident rates and sedentarism.

Superblocks are made up of a grid of roads forming an area some 400m by 400m, closed to motorized vehicles and above-ground parking. The inner streets are reserved for pedestrians and can be used by residential traffic, services, emergency vehicles only.

The superilla is currently being piloted in Poble Nou, an area near the beach that had the highest concentration of industry in Spain in the latter half of the 19th century.

 Images by Eduardo Rodriguez  and Kaspars Upmanis. Unsplash.

Featured image by Wang Binghua. Unsplash.