The devastating effects of air pollution can be felt everywhere around us, with news of global warming and molten glaciers being in the news every day. Air pollution has reached sky-high levels in the last few decades, with the increase in population and the number of vehicles that are on the road every day.
But do you know all the concern-worthy facts about air pollution, especially in the UK? With an increase in the number of vehicles on the road, all vehicles are checked by the authorities every day to ensure whether the car or motorcycle emits fewer pollutants as per the restrictions set by the government of the UK.
Currently, the maximum limit that is set for cars to emit harmful pollutants is set to 95g of Carbon Dioxide per kilometre. When cars emit gases under this radar, it is considered safe. However, a recent survey suggests that only 0.5% of all licensed vehicles on the roads of the UK are actually certified Ultra-Low Emission Vehicles. Therefore, it is safe to say that most vehicles in the UK are actually polluting the atmosphere more and more as of now. This will soon increase to exponential numbers, and there is no stopping it.
What pollution do cars emit?
Now let us see what harmful pollutants vehicles actually emit when they are driven on roads. It is pretty well known that burning anything openly without any emission controller will lead to large amounts of pollutants being released into the atmosphere every second.
Carbon Dioxide is one of the primary pollutants that is released from cars and other fuel-led vehicles. Carbon Dioxide acts as the main cause of global warming and the melting of ice caps in the two poles of the Earth. Carbon Dioxide warms up the atmosphere of the Earth, which is its main purpose. However, too much of this gas can lead to overheating of the Earth’s atmosphere, which is exactly what is happening now, causing global warming. This leads to the melting of ice in the poles of the Earth and an eventual increase in water level all over the globe. Currently, 21% of overall Carbon Dioxide emissions come from vehicular emissions.
Carbon Monoxide is one of the most harmful gases that are present in vehicular emissions. When the fuel is being burnt in the engine of the car, be it petrol or diesel, a huge amount of Carbon Monoxide gets released into the atmosphere, generally emitted from the fuel that is not completely burned. Carbon Monoxide is dangerous for any living organism in this world, as it displaces the oxygen that is present in the air, forming other forms of harmful Nitrates. These nitrates, when inhaled, reduce the levels of oxygen that is present in our body. Too much exposure to Carbon Monoxide can cause respiratory failure, where the brain, lungs, and other vital organs do not get enough oxygen to function properly. This leads to people suffocating, and in extreme cases – losing consciousness and even death.
Petrol and diesel require oxygen to burn properly. When the required oxygen mixes with the nitrogen present in the fuels, Nitrogen Oxide is created, which gets released into the atmosphere. Nitrogen Oxide has been considered deadly as they stay in our respiratory tracts for a long time, depleting oxygen. This leads to an increase in vulnerability to respiratory problems and asthma to develop among the living. This increases the chance of getting affected by respiratory diseases and lung cancer more easily.
Particulate matter emitted from cars like dust and other finer particulates can have negative effects on human health and the atmosphere, as they have the ability to cling to the ground for longer times. Too much emission of particulate matter is the leading cause of smog to form on the surface. Smog can have many negative health impacts, like lower absorption of oxygen into the bloodstream and other respiratory infections and other ill effects.
Hydrocarbons are considered to be another leading cause of global warming. This is because hydrocarbons cause severe depletion of the Ozone layer in our atmosphere. The ozone layer is solely responsible for preventing harmful ultraviolet rays of the sun from entering the atmosphere on the surface. Ultraviolet rays can cause skin pigmentation, skin cancer, and even accelerate global warming.
How to reduce air pollution from cars?
Air pollution can only be reduced if we all take a chance to prevent it in the first place. Small steps can be taken initially so that larger actions can be taken later on. In order to reduce air pollution from cars and ensure a safer future and cleaner air for the next generation, one must start at the individual level to contribute to the overall good.
Vehicular Emission Checks
Getting your car and motorcycles checked for vehicular emissions is the first step that you can take to do good. Make sure that proper silencers and smoke emitted and engines are fitted in your vehicle, as newer parts have better efficacy and emit lesser harmful particles. Make sure that your car emits less than 95g of CO2 per kilometre in the atmosphere, or better yet if it can be lowered to 75g of CO2 per kilometre.
Using Petroleum and Diesel substitutes
Petrol and diesel emit a large number of harmful gases when burnt, which is the main cause of air pollution in this world. Using Compressed Natural Gas (CNG) instead of petroleum and diesel is the best substitute that is available right now. Also, shifting gears to better run electric cars and solar cars are also becoming a much-needed change of pace in controlling air pollution from cars in the future.
Plant more trees
Green plants absorb all the Carbon Dioxide and other harmful gases that are emitted from cars. Therefore, planting more trees is one of the best solutions for preventing more respiratory deaths from occuring in the future, along with maintaining the sea level in coastal areas all around the world.