MADRID, Jan. 11 (Xinhua) -- Spain's capital city surpassed the legal limits for nitrogen dioxide (NO2) in 2016 for the seventh successive year, according to a report on air quality in the city published by environmental group Ecologists in Action on Wednesday.
The study shows that although 2016 saw an improvement over the NO2 levels measured in 2015, nine of the 24 measuring stations registered NO2 levels above the established European legal limit of a yearly average of 40 micrograms per square meter.
Four of the nine stations also registered pollution levels which also broke the rules for short-term peaks in NO2. This level of 200 micrograms per square meter should not be surpassed for more than 18 hours in a year.
Ecologists in Action highlighted that Madrid was the only city in Spain which failed to meet this target.
Current protocol used in the Spanish capital -- limiting speed limits on access roads into Madrid or banning cars from parking in the city center once levels of 180 micrograms per square meter have been reached -- was not strict enough, it said.
These measures were carried out in December, while the start of the month saw 50 percent of cars forbidden from circulating due to high pollution levels.
The environmental group applauded these measures as well as plans announced by mayor Manuel Carmena to limit the access of traffic to Madrid's Gran Via.
"For the first time in the history of the city they have applied measures to control traffic," it commented. Enditem