PARIS, July 22 (Xinhua) -- A heatwave is returning to France, with temperatures in the capital expected to reach as high as 41 degrees Celsius on Thursday, according to the forecast of weather agency Meteo France.
The temperature will surpass the previous record temperature for July, which stood at 40.4 degrees Celsius, a record high since 1947, the agency reported.
The country's meteorological services have put 59 departments, including Ile-de-France (Paris and its suburb), under orange alert due to intense heatwave and decided to maintain the alert system in these areas till Tuesday afternoon.
Authorities in the French capital decided on Monday to impose driving ban under the new six-colored system of Crit'Air in Great Paris as of July 23 as the extreme heatwave will worsen air pollution, Paris prefecture said.
"The hot weather announced for the coming days favoring the increase in ozone levels, the prefecture decided to implement the pollution control system in Ile-de-France from tomorrow, Tuesday 23 July," it said in a statement.
Between 3:30 and 22:00 GMT, only electric or hydrogen vehicles, petrol cars registered after January 2006 and diesel cars registered from January 2011 - corresponding to Crit'Air levels 1 and 2 were allowed to circulate inside the Peripherique ring road, which is considered the city's limits.
Motorists who violate the rule must pay 68 euros (76.28 U.S. dollars), while bus and truck drivers risk to be fined 135 euros.
Amid high levels of ozone pollution linked to rising temperatures, authorities ordered to cut speed limits by 20 kilometers per hour in Paris and Ile-de-France. They also called on businesses that use polluting machinery to reduce operations, and avoid using solvent-based products, such as acetone, varnishes, glues or paints.
In Paris, pollution levels remain high with ozone levels exceeding 180 micrograms per cubic meter, according to Airparif, an independent group that monitors air quality in the Paris agglomeration. (1 euro = 1.121 U.S. dollars)