The dangers associated with transport emissions were highlighted during this year’s World Environment Day.
It is well known just how dangerous air pollution is – clean air strategies and policies have been put in place by the government to tackle pollution; it is currently the fourth biggest threat to public health, behind cancer, obesity and heart disease.
Indeed, air pollution can cause some of the above health issues – according to data from the UN Environment’s Measuring Progress report, indoor and outdoor air pollution caused an estimated seven million deaths globally in 2016.
Heart disease, strokes, cancer and acute lower respiratory infections can all be caused as a result of air pollution and given that transport emissions account for a significant proportion of pollution in cities.
This is why World Environment Day – held on 5 June – raised awareness regarding the need for local and national governments throughout the world – as well as citizens – to take the necessary steps in order to improve air quality by using and developing public transport systems.
The electric mobility expert for the UN Environment is Rob de Jong. He said that three things must happen if the blight of air pollution from transport emissions are tackled: he said cleaner vehicles are required, as is better design of cities that avoid the need for transport, and greater efficiency in modes of transport is also required.
He said: “We need three things to happen.
“We need to avoid the need for transport, like through better city design where kids can walk to school and shops are close to residential areas.
“We need to shift to more efficient modes of transport, like public transport and walking and cycling; and we need to improve transport, like through cleaner vehicles.”
If the government would take these necessary steps, and used the technology available to do so, transport emissions would be reduced.