An Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) report recently came out and revealed that the global lifespan expectancy average has been cut down by 2.2 years due to the pervading issue of air pollution. With this, toxic air has become more dangerous than unsafe water, alcohol use, smoking, conflict and terrorism, and HIV and AIDS.
Unsafe or unsanitary water reduces life expectancy by seven months, drug and alcohol use by an average of nine months, smoking cigarettes by approximately 1.9 years, conflict and terrorism by seven days, and HIV and AIDS can reduce life by about four months.
According to the AQLI (Air Quality Life Index), collectively, air pollution can cut life by around 17 billion years. This report is based on research that showed a causal relationship between mortality and exposure to particulate matter.
What makes air pollution more dangerous is the fact that it cannot be avoided. You can take medication for illnesses and diseases or you can choose to stop smoking, but you cannot stop breathing. You need to breathe in the air around you. So, there is no escape from air pollution.
The only way through the problem is to bring down the levels of air pollution so these would comply with the international health guidelines intended to improve the average global life expectancy of around 74.2 years from 72 years.
PM or particulate matter is responsible for the toxic air that you breathe. Around 18% of particulate matter pollution is a result of wildfires and other natural sources, 22% comes from various human activities, and 60% is a result of fossil fuel combustion.
The effects of PM pollution are dependent on size – smaller particles are more dangerous because they permeate into your body. PM10 is less than 10 micrometres in diameter; it can go through nose hair and all the way to the respiratory tract and your lungs.
PM2.5, which are smaller particulate matter with a diameter of 2.5 micrometres, is capable of getting into your bloodstream through the alveoli of your lungs. This is what can cause serious health complications, such as heart attack and stroke.
In the 2005 World Health Organization air quality guidance, air pollution acceptable levels were specified to be lesser than 10 micrograms for every cubic metre. This was later on changed to less than 5 micrograms for every cubic metre. The sad reality, though, is that over 7 billion people or more than 90% of the world’s population are exposed to toxic air. PM pollution is a global health threat.
One of the major sources of pollution is diesel vehicles. They emit nitrogen oxides or NOx, which can be devastating to human health and can negatively impact the environment.
NOx is a gas that has nitric acid (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2) as its primary components. It comes from fuel burning and emissions from power plants, buses, trucks, off-road equipment, and cars and vans.
Nitrogen oxide is responsible for the formation of acid rain and smog. It is also what helps create ground-level ozone.
NOx makes vegetation susceptible to frost damage. Plants and crops stop growing, and their growth is stunted.
Nitrogen oxide emissions have various effects on human health, and all of them can be devastating.
If you are regularly exposed to NOx emissions, you’ll experience eye irritation, headaches, asthma or aggravated asthma, nausea and vomiting, breathing problems/difficulty in breathing and other respiratory illnesses.
If your exposure involves high concentrations of nitrogen oxides on a regular basis, you can develop health complications. Your risk for developing cancer and cardiovascular diseases goes higher. Other impacts include laryngospasm, increased susceptibility to certain respiratory illnesses, chronically reduced lung function, and early death.
Nitrogen oxide is linked to the Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal in 2015 that involved Volkswagen and other car manufacturers.
What was the Dieselgate scandal?
The US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the California Resources Board found defeat devices allegedly installed in Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold to American consumers. Defeat devices automatically detect when a car is in regulatory testing and artificially adjust emissions levels so they stay within the limits set by the WHO.
When taken out and driven in real-world driving conditions, however, the vehicle emits nitrogen oxides at levels that are multiple times over the EU and WHO legal limits. As such, the affected vehicle is a heavy pollutant.
Aside from Volkswagen, other car manufacturers involved in the diesel emissions scandal include Mercedes-Benz, Renault, BMW, Alfa Romeo, and Citroën, among others.
Your emissions claim
If your vehicle is affected by the defeat device scandal, it is a pollutant and you deserved to be compensated for the inconvenience and financial burden this has caused you.
File a diesel emissions claim against your manufacturer with the help of a panel of emissions solicitors. They’ll answer all the questions you have, including “how can I file my diesel claim?”
The panel of solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk are highly trained and with vast experience in winning emissions compensation claims. Visit their website and get in touch with them now so you can start working on your claim.