New EU Regulations Could Put 100m Highly Polluting Cars on European Roads

New EU Regulations Could Put 100m Highly Polluting Cars on European Roads

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Air pollution-linked premature deaths in 2018 equalled  around 70,000, and most of these were caused by exposure to road transport emissions such as particulate matter or PM and nitrogen oxide or NOx. Toxic air has become the primary cause of early deaths across the world and is now considered more life-threatening than cigarette smoking or even HIV and AIDS.

The world is slowly being engulfed by polluted air and authorities continue to find ways to effectively lower toxic air levels. In the UK and Europe, several programs have been in place for years but those are still not enough. There are Ultra-Low Emissions Zones (ULEZ) in London and the UK has Clean Air Zones (CAZ), while the European Union has identified regulatory limits for air pollution. The World Health Organization (WHO) has also adjusted their air quality guidelines.

Despite all these, a lot of things still need to be done; especially in terms of helping people understand what air pollution can do to them. Governments and their agencies should also work together with the private sector in coming up with stringent measures for preventing and controlling air pollution. This should be the ideal picture: all sectors of society working together to address the problem.

However, what’s happening is far from ideal.

According to The Guardian, a leaked proposal indicates that the European Commission rejected efficiency recommendations submitted by their own experts. A draft of the Euro 7 regulation shows that the proposal only focuses on keeping diesel emissions in line with emissions from petrol vehicles in accordance with the current Euro 6 law. As such, petrol standards will stay the same.

Transport & Environment (T&E) vehicle emissions and air quality manager Anna Krajinska describes the Commission’s actions as similar to Dieselgate – a scandal. What they did, in her opinion, is similar to threatening the strict implementation of pollution regulations for vehicles. As vehicle manufacturers and automotive industry insiders have consistently opposed the commission’s Euro 7 standards, this latest development is proof that the manufacturer’s profits are given more importance than Europeans’ health and safety.

As a result of the European Commission’s decision, roads in Europe are expected to fill up with around 100 million highly polluting vehicles. One need not imagine what this can do to the air around us. Even if you’re on the road for several minutes only, you’ll already be exposed to massive amounts of toxic air.

Recommendations given by a consortium of EU experts focused on the medium ambition option, which would mean a savings of around €136 billion (or £118.7 billion) for health and environmental expenses. The health and environmental consequences, however, are expected to be high.

Why are vehicle emissions dangerous?

In September 2015, the Volkswagen Group was implicated in the Dieselgate scandal. US authorities allegedly discovered defeat devices in Audi and VW diesel vehicles that were sold in the American market. These cheat devices can tell when a vehicle is in testing so that emissions can be manipulated. Once the vehicle is being tested, the device artificially reduced emissions to levels that are within the WHO-mandated limits. Manufacturers do this so the vehicle can pass the regulatory test and they can start selling the car or van.

The defeat device does not work on real roads, though. So, when the vehicle is taken out of the lab and driven on Europe’s roads, it releases excessively high volumes of nitrogen oxide or NOx. Nitrogen oxide emissions are highly reactive and can lead to environmental and health damage.

After stalling for some time, VW eventually admitted that they knew about the defeat devices and what dangers they hold. Authorities ordered for a recall of the hundreds of thousands of Audi and VW diesel vehicles affected by the scam – which became known as the Dieselgate scandal.

Other carmakers started getting implicated in the years that followed, including Mercedes-Benz, Renault, and BMW. UK-based Vauxhall is the latest in the diesel emissions scandal list after authorities alleged that they fitted their diesel engines with cheat devices in January 2021.

The NOx gas that diesel vehicles emit has negative impacts on the environment and vegetation, your mental health, cognitive abilities, and overall health. The nitric oxide and nitrogen dioxide in nitrogen oxide emissions damage crops and plants and produce acid rain, smog, and ground-level ozone.

Constant exposure to NOx can also increase your risk for developing dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease.

Overall health impacts can range from mild to serious, depending on the level and frequency of exposure. Mild effects may include frequent asthma attacks, bronchitis and/or emphysema, and shortness of breath. You may also develop fluid in the lungs.

Serious impacts of exposure to NOx emissions include increased risk to cancer, laryngospasm, asphyxiation, and cardiovascular diseases. The most devastating health impact is premature death.

Carmakers should be held responsible for their actions, for mis-selling vehicles and earning profit from them. The impacts that NOx emissions have on a person and the environment are life-altering. Affected car owners should be properly compensated.

Bringing an emissions claim against your manufacturer should be your priority. Verify if you are qualified to make a claim before proceeding to the process. Get in touch with; you’ll find the information you need from them.

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