Our Air Is Not Safe Anymore: Blame The Cars And Trucks

Guest writer, HAROLD, pleads his case regarding air pollution and demands an immediate stop to it. People Are Dying of Air Pollution....

Guest writer, HAROLD, pleads his case regarding air pollution and demands an immediate stop to it.

People Are Dying of Air Pollution.

If you think you are breathing clean air, think again! Air particulates in polluted air kill an average of 40 000 per year in the USA and up to 200 000 per year in Europe (by comparison, the Vietnam war claimed only 58 151 casualties for the entire period). The Lancet Medical Journal reported in December 2012 that 1.2 million premature births in China were the result of bad air. China’s 14 largest cities record about 50 000 newborns killed yearly by air pollution, with over 400 000 cases per year of respiratory illnesses. Hong Kong environmental agencies report 3200 deaths yearly due to bad air. King’s College in London reported that 4000 residents face early death per year due to car pollution. The government of Scotland estimated that up to 3000 people die every year from car-induced air pollution, compared to 190 killed in car crashes annually.

The Environment Health Perspectives Journal published that high levels of car and truck pollution have direct correlation to increase in hyperactivity (ADHD) in kids. Mothers in highly air polluted areas give birth to smaller babies. The Stanford School of Medicine disclosed that defects in newborns can be partly caused by air pollution, and toxic emissions cause premature aging and Alzheimer’s disease. The Columbia Center for Children’s Environmental Health reported that obesity in kids is directly related to air pollution.

Air Pollution Caused by Cars and Trucks.

China and USA alone produce about half of the world’s CO2. Studies have attested that the major contributors of CO2 in the air are cars and trucks. Car tires wear out as you drive and the particles from those tires spread into the air.

The National Geographic reports that more tornadoes in the USA happen during weekdays than weekends, presumably because weekday commuter pollution is far higher than during weekends. It further reported that over half of the air pollution in the USA (reaching 1 million tons daily of CO2) is caused by toxic emissions from land transport vehicles. In Dubai, 42% of air pollution is due to harmful emissions from cars and trucks. In China, it is higher at 70%. In Manila, Philippines, it is even higher at 80% (and most of this is attributed to vehicle traffic).

USA uses about half of the world’s gasoline. American cars and trucks use over 300 million gallons every day (this will fill a 500-acre lake about 2 feet deep). California alone uses 40 million gallons per day, about equal to China. Idling in traffic alone uses over 8 million gallons per day in the USA. India’s gasoline and fuel consumption is growing at an alarming rate due to a 65% increase in new vehicles. China, Korea and Thailand are producing cars and trucks in mind boggling volumes.

Very few people realise that 96% to 98% of fuel consumption is used to move the weight of the car itself and only 2% to 4% for the weight of the passenger. A 3500 pound car with a 150 pound driver uses 96% of the gas just to move the car itself. A 7000 pound SUV with a 150 pound driver uses 98% of the gas to move the SUV. From a pollution-control vantage point, bicycles, skateboards and roller blades are the most environmentally friendly way to travel around town. The challenge is for long distance trips.
 
A road in Beijing covered in smog
image: The Guardian

People are in a ‘Virtual Gas Chamber’.

In view of the alarming health hazards due to air pollution from cars and trucks, and the unstoppable growth in car and truck productions, we are clearly in a ‘virtual gas chamber’ without us realising it. Ironically, we are not even objecting to it. Government of nations are not even putting controls on vehicle production, otherwise called ‘virtual poison gas production’. We have to do something before it is too late.

Practical Suggestions To Solve The Problem.

Certainly, it is not practical to stop using cars and trucks all at once. The challenge is to drastically reduce the toxic emissions from cars and trucks. Here are some of the practical suggestions from different sectors of society:
  1.  Continue efforts to produce more fuel efficient engines. There are now cars with fuel rate as low as 40 kilometers per litre. We will then use less fuel for the same distance that we travel.
  2. Instill the discipline of proper and regular preventive maintenance for vehicle engines. Properly maintained engines reduce fuel consumption significantly.
  3. Use additives which can reduce harmful emissions. One such additive known to reduce up to 85% of harmful emissions in cars and trucks is the X-1R range of performance lubricants and fuel additives.
  4. Encourage society to walk, cycle, roller blade and skateboard (for kids) for shorter trips around town. People should drive less, and take trains and buses instead.
  5. Governments to move people by efficient mass transport system. The passengers’ weight to vehicle’s weight ratio is far higher, hence, overall fuel consumption per 1000 people is drastically lower, not to mention the traffic congestion that it eliminates. 
  6. Produce far lighter vehicles and, hence, far lower fuel consumption.
  7. Convert to electric vehicles or hybrids. This is, however, being challenged since EVs still obtain power from the mainstream electricity source, produced by power plants powered by bunker fuel, diesel or coal - all known air pollutants as well.
  8. Governments to establish move hydro, geothermal and wind-based power plants.
  9.  Governments to invest in solar energy development for the power sector, industrial, household and, especially, for automotive use. The challenge is to make solar panels affordable, and to store solar energy in an environmentally friendly manner using affordable batteries.
  10. Governments must have the political will to eliminate vehicles with intolerable emission levels and road-unworthy conditions from the streets.

Again, this is not an insignificant concern. We must all cooperate to solve this very serious problem!

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