Diesel boom results in increased numbers of air pollution-related deaths

Ahhh, London. Breathe in deep, and get yourself a lungful of that wonderful smell, of chip shops, sewers and, best of all, exhaust fumes. It’s not for nothing that the United Kingdom’s capital city is more commonly known as ‘The Big Smoke’. And according to Public Health England, our daily commute through a thick fog of car exhaust emissions could be more costly for our health than we dared to believe.

A recent report by Public Health England has stated that in almost half of London boroughs, there was a significant increase in the proportion of deaths from air pollution between 2010 and 2011.

In recent years, the capital has seen an extra 360,000 diesel-run vehicles on the roads, spewing their fumes into the atmosphere. The motivation for this change to diesel is due to its relative environmental friendliness as compared to petrol, as it releases fewer greenhouse gases into the atmosphere. This increase in traffic is suggested to be partly to blame for such a rise in pollution-related deaths, as diesel, unlike petrol, emits certain harmful particles when burnt, which aggravate heart and lung conditions. Public Health England noted a rise in air pollution-related deaths in 15 boroughs. In the borough of Westminster, percentages attributed to pollution rose from 8.30 to 8.32 in 2011. In sharp contrast, England’s average percentage is 5.36%.

Frank Kelly, of King’s College London said of the figures: “The climate-change linked policy of favouring diesel over petrol has really backfired for Europe because of the increased pollution. We need more electric vehicles, but the simplest solution is to reduce the traffic on our roads.”

Source include the New Scientist

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