Madrid last year exceeded the legal limit of contamination set by the EU with an annual average of 44 micrograms of suspended particles of less than 10 micrometers, or PM10, four micrograms over the continental watershed.
The annual average of smaller PM2.5 particles in the capital also exceeded World Health Organization guidelines of 10 micrograms per cubic meter.
MadridCity Hallenvironment chief, Ana Botella, called for an EU moratorium on particle limits in a meeting of the environment commission. "To meet the limits we would have to reduce traffic by 50 percent, and that is not possible," she said. Quizzed by Socialist environment spokesman Pedro Santín over a recent report linking PM2.5 with higher mortality, Botella made no mention of it in her response.