Recent air pollution research found that €70 billion in health damage is caused by traffic emissions every year in the European Union — about 75% of the harm is caused by diesel emissions. The report, titled “Health Impacts and Health Costs of Diesel Emissions in the EU,” was commissioned by the European Public Health Alliance (EPHA).
“Low and zero-emission alternatives would be a much more appropriate solution. But as a public health advocate, I cannot stress enough the importance of walking and cycling, which give additional health benefits,” said Zoltán Massay-Kosubek, policy manager at the EPHA.
Fortunately, the solution to the problem is easily understood — it is to simply get rid of diesel vehicles to eliminate the toxic emissions. How that is accomplished is the difficult part, but to start with, consumers can make the very obvious decision to not buy any new diesel-powered cars and trucks.
Another encouraging facet of the situation is the growing number of all-electric and PHEV vehicles available today, and this trend is expanding.
ICE vehicles, including diesels, contribute to climate change as many people know in this age, but their emissions are also harmful and sometimes even deadly to humans. Toxic air pollution kills millions of people every year. According to the World Health Organization, the precise figure is 3.8 million premature deaths per year, with heart disease and stroke being the two main causes.
“In adult life there is a strong link between air pollution and strokes, heart disease and diabetes. It has been estimated that air pollution contributes to 40,000 premature deaths per year in the UK,” wrote the UK organization Doctors Against Diesel on its website. Doctors work in healthcare, they aren’t usually environmental activists, so they can’t be dismissed so readily as ‘tree huggers’ or ‘greenies’.
The transition to far more electric vehicles has been seen historically as a trend which has been desired by environmentalists. It might turn out to be much more about the practical realities of reducing and eventually eliminating harm to humans first.
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