The current heat wave has resulted in peak levels of ozone pollution. Certain Swiss cantons have announced discounted fares on public transport to encourage people to avoid using cars and thus reduce pollution.
In Geneva, all regional public transport services are discounted, and will remain so until the ozone level returns to an acceptable level, authorities revealed on Friday. For example, a second class day pass on the Geneva public transport system that costs CHF10 ($10.6) has now been reduced to CHF7.30. Similar measures have also been adopted by the neighbouring cantons of Vaud and Valais.
In recent days, the ozone levels have increased up to 260 micrograms per cubic metre compared to an acceptable level of 120 micrograms.
While ozone forms a protective layer in the upper atmosphere shielding us from harmful ultraviolet radiation, ground level ozone is a major pollutant and is responsible for respiratory illnesses. This “bad ozone” is formed when volatile organic compounds and nitrogen oxides from sources like vehicle emissions interact in the presence of heat and sunlight.