Air pollution has been known to have bad effects on human health ever since Lester Lave and Eugene Seskin published their work in Science back in 1970. They studied “the long-term effects of growing up in, and living in, a polluted atmosphere,” using economists’ favorite statistical technique – regression analysis – to look at a few locales where data were available. Ever since then, scientists have been studying air pollution more closely and to be realistic, the results are increasingly worrying with each published paper.
Which is why UK’s ban on new petrol and diesel vehicles from 2040 might seem like a great vision for the country. Unfortunately, it does nothing to stop production until then and save the men, women and children that are supposed to breathe smog until then. there is a need to address a public health emergency happening right now.
The 2040 ban on fossil-fueled cars has done its headline-grabbing job, despite simply going with the low-carbon flow and being less ambitious than other big nations. The curtain hides ministers who put on the good-guy masks when addressing at air pollution.
They claim it’s caused up to £2.7bn in lost productivity in 2012, ignoring their own estimate of annual health costs of at least £27.5bn. Isn’t the government’s primary function to protect its citizens from harm? What is the UK government doing, then, if not utterly failing to do its core function? Most urban areas have already had to put up with illegal levels of air pollution for years, thanks in part to car manufacturers.
Yes, the ones who should also take responsibility are the automotive industry giants who’ve been scamming emissions regulations for years. One only has to remember VW. We need harsh penalties for this kind of behavior towards citizens. And all the while, local authorities are on a rampage of “unfairly penalising” drivers. That’s one of the worst ways the UK government treats motorists – by imposing pollution taxes and other restrictions on diesel drivers.
Whether the plan works or not, and people start moving towards hybrid or electric cars, the manufacturers need to get their share of punishment and the government needs to deal with it in the near future – not when the kids are all grown up with PM2.5 particles having a party in their lungs until they prematurely pass away.
It has been scientifically proven after all.