Roughly 38,000 people die prematurely every year worldwide as a result of exposure to diesel exhaust, according to new research from the Environmental Health Analytics. Importantly, this figure will continue climbing over the coming years if decisive action isn’t taken, according to the researchers involved.
The annual death rate as a result of diesel exhaust exposure could climb as high as 183,600 in just 23 years without action, going by the findings of the new work.
As we reported recently, actual real-world emissions of various pollutants by diesel vehicles are considerably higher than is publicly acknowledged — meaning that authorities are prone to often underplay the significance of diesel vehicle pollution on public health. Many of those reading this will recall that authorities in the European Union actively pushed the adoption of diesel vehicles as a “solution” to rising carbon dioxide emissions and anthropogenic climate change.
On that subject, researcher Daven Henze of the University of Colorado was quoted as saying: “It shows that in addition to tightening emissions standards, we need to be attaining the standards that already exist in real-world driving conditions.”
Futurism provides some further context: “The new research is the latest in a long series of damning studies that have highlighted the problem of greenhouse gas emissions. Earlier this year the World Health Organisation (WHO) found that a quarter of the deaths of children under the age of 5 are attributable to pollution — that’s 1.7 million deaths a year. The WHO also found in 2014 that 7 million deaths a year were caused by outdoor air pollution.”
Something that’s perhaps more important to note here than simply complaining about the use of diesel vehicles is that overall vehicle use has been rising rapidly in recent years. While diesel vehicles may be responsible for higher levels of air pollutant emissions than gasoline/petrol vehicles, on the individual level, if auto and truck use continues to grow, then overall emissions levels will remain a problem — even a potential large-scale rollout of electric vehicles brings with it a lot of environmental problems. A “better” solution would be a greatly increased use of public transportation services, biking, and walking (where possible — there aren’t many good options in much of the US).