Driven Mad (2)

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No one is guilty but all of us are!

For some of us it’s ‘I didn’t know defence’, whilst others should know better. The latter is especially true for those who have knowledge of the environmental issues.

Car Pollution

 It may well be that we have a tendency to switch adherence in our beliefs dependent on the situation. I am always bemused by the constant snipping between pedestrians and motorists; each demand courtesy from the other while going about their business. Their attitude is governed by whether they are on foot or driving.

A pet hate of mine is the out of town shopping centre (Malls). Does anyone have an idea of the amount of exhaust fumes (CO2 & NOx) hacked-out like so much bronchial mucus on a weekly, monthly, annual basis? I don’t either!

Driving along in your automobile,

Going for shopping and a meal.

While exhaust fumes are seeping through,

To your partner, kids and you.

It’s gonna shorten your life,

And cause other medical strife.

Environmental and Human Health Inc. claim that air pollution by cars, diesel being the worse cause:

Cardiovascular disease – asthma – lung cancer – diabetes – chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Diesel contains: benzene + formaldehyde + 1, 3-butadiene. All of which are carcinogens!

The American Academy of Paediatrics concludes that the particulate matter from diesel threatens children’s health in many parts of the USA.

www.ehhi.org/reports/exhaust/summary.shtml

Tens of thousands of us drive to an out of town Shopping Centre at least once a week. Some drive quite a distance, the Trafford Centre near Manchester which has 11,500 parking spaces claims to attract shoppers from a 50 miles radius. That’s a lot of drive for a pair of knickers. Bluewater in Kent has free spaces for 13,000 cars and caters for parts of London as well as Kent.

Merry Hill, Dudley West Midlands has 10,000 spaces and has developed in stages. Construction began on Merry Hill farm, ‘cherished locally as a haven for wildlife’. The new Centre had a serious effect on the surrounding towns, Dudley was the worse effected with a 70% decline in retail. The Centre has now been incorporated into Dudley district with buses to and fro many local destinations. However, cars are the preferred mode of transport.

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Merry_Hill_Shopping_Centre

The colossal increase in car ownership opened this opportunity for big business. Businesses could now have larger premises, buy more goods in bulk, saving on costs. Further advantages of reduced rent and rates (council tax) were also a boost to the bottom line.

All the advantages motivated the move out of town. The spin or marketing ploy was that it was a better choice for the consumer and a more relaxed shopping experience with restaurants and café’s well positioned throughout the Centre. Back in town, charity shops filled the vacated spots. Whilst those without transport find it increasingly difficult to source their shopping needs locally and, it’s more expensive.

With profit as the sole motivation little thought was given to how staff could get to work. Even less consideration to the environmental impact of such Centres.

So much time is spent in these places that I am surprised that no enterprising folk have opened a bed & breakfast establishment. Perhaps, that’s the next phase after the swimming pool and sand pits have been added.

However, business has won through as the Centres do create a more amenable environment for shopping. Being under shelter with the array of shops is a huge convenience. Just a pity they are not in the city centre, like Liverpool or Brussels.

The custom flocks to the Centres and flocks regularly. Some just flock to walk aroundthCA54HI3M and maybe have a coffee. Others flock to buy goods they could have sourced locally.

“What did you do with your day”?

“I flocked”.

“Flocking nice”!

Our love affair with the car is directly linked to our notion of individualism. I’m not advocating screwing with peoples’ belief in individuality. If they feel free and motivated so be it. Nonetheless, I feel entitled to expect them to be considerate of others. They can achieve this by demanding that the government take action to prevent NOx & CO2 emissions and not simply impose a levy on the motorist. And, that the government demand the manufacturers build engines without toxins.

An individual’s convenience should not impose a toxic poison on the rest of society. Unfortunately, there is little option but to spew out the toxins.

th[2]It is well documented that our leaders led us to this mire. We were encouraged through marketing that diesel cars emitted less CO2 than petrol ones and thus a switch to diesel was good for the environment. With tax incentives e.g. reduced road tax.

Astonishingly, ‘more than 10 million motorists were “betrayed and misled” into buying diesel cars’. In consequence 18 cities across Britain have more NOx in the air than permitted by law.

www.telegraph.co.uk/motoring/news/11007326             August 2014

There are now an approximate 12 million diesel cars on the road in the UK and the numbers are increasing annually.

Two years since the telegraph article and still we wait. Arrrh! It’s worse! In 1993 [23 years] Professor Roy Harrison of Birmingham University chaired a committee that warned the government of the dangers associated with diesel cars. www.independent.co.uk/life-style/motoring/motoring-news/  Jan.2015

This was the same year (1993) that the EU introduced directive E. See the post Driven Mad. The point is that knowledge of the risks was known and our political leaders chose to ignore it or dilly-dally with solutions.

July is the 60th anniversary of Britain’s 1956 Clean Air Act brought about by the London smog. Our air quality is now worse! Seriously! It’s all to do with politicians playing into the hands of the car manufacturers. Since 1993 they have been chasing the car industry to improve emissions, giving the manufacturers more time to get it right. The automobile industry has abused the situation.

Back in 2013 it was stated that nitrogen dioxide (NOx) had, ‘a greater impact on human health’. That we could significantly reduce NOx, ‘if the lower emitting technologies were more widely adopted’. But very little has changed in the past 20 years.

www.airqualitynews.com/2013/05/24/newer-diesel-cars-emitting-more-no2-study-finds

Another report highlights the work of the Royal College of Physicians and the Royal College of Paediatrics who suggest that poor air quality causes around 40,000 premature deaths annually in UK. Europe wide the figure is an unbelievable 400,000 per year. Wow!!!

Airqualitynews.com/2016/07/05 +  airqualitynews.com/2016/07/04

Do some good…..Join Robin Hood.

 

 

 

Driven Mad

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Two guys in the USA looking at car emission issues were puzzled as to why American cars waltzed through the tougher emission testing whereas the European cars had difficulty. They decided to carry out a number of tests to see if they could come up with an easy solution, and to prove that cleaner cars could be efficient and still retain their power. They tested Volkswagen vehicles. The storm began!

www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/road-and-rail-transport/11883343/

www.en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Volkswagen­_emissions_scandal

The exposé of Volkswagen over the emissions from their diesel cars has led to a bonanza of enquiries about emissions.  We are all now aware that we have been systematically lied to for decades by the automobile industry.

An examination of the testing techniques employed to determine the degree of emissions by Which?  consumer group has revealed a devastating picture of deceit by all the leading manufacturers. The extent of the deception is quite staggering when laid adjacent to the number of deaths associated with the pollution from cars.

Incredibly, 97% of all diesel cars give out nitrogen oxide (NOx) a highly toxic substance. The Which? sponsored tests by Emissions Analytics (EA) under the auspices of Imperial College London (ICL) has burst the protective bubble around the manufacturers. Which? describes the previous lab-tests as, ‘so seriously flawed they’re meaningless’. www.theguardian.com  January 2016.

Another dynamic of testing is that in colder conditions the emissions become worse, e.g. below 18C. A mechanism in the engine closes down which in turn facilitates more miles per gallon (mpg) but at the expense of greater toxicity. Obviously the manufacturer will highlight the better mpg and say nothing about the toxic emissions. Beware marketing!! Professor Ricardo Martinez-Botas of the ICL was taken aback and ‘shocked’ by the findings.  Daily Mail 23/06/2016

The Guardian further reports that by 2020 London will introduce an ultra-low emission zone.

Q? Why ultra-low, why not a definitive NO! Why wait until 2020?

Both car producers and politicians have been aware of the adverse effects of NOx and yet we wait to take action. The technology exists to produce cars of nil NOx emissions!! Note the words of Sir Malcolm Green professor of respiratory medicine when he says that such pollution is ‘shortening people’s lives’.

We may never know the full extent of the death rate from car pollution or how badly it affects asthma sufferers. Particulates from diesel cars are the deadliest form of air pollution and can easily trigger an attack of asthma. We know it brings on emphysema and bronchitis but what else.

  • The number of diesel cars in UK has risen from 1.6million 1994 – 12 million to date.

thE0TWUDA5The death toll is frighteningly high. The Mail online January 2016 suggests a figure of 30,000 annually with 23,500 directly related to diesel cars. The Guardian 2014 gave figures of 42,000 with 29,000 associated.

  •   NOx levels in UK are ‘far above safe levels for human health’. Mail online
  • NOx is at illegally high levels in several British cities. Guardian April 2016

Q?  Why have our politicians allowed this travesty to continue?

The answer may surprise you. Since 1993 the EU has introduced directives (E) to mitigate the pollution. In 2005 E5 was passed, in 2015 we had E6, therefore as far as the politicians are concerned the car industry has been pushed decidedly in the right direction. Hurrah? NO!

  • Those suffering from the effects of the pollution are not dancing in the street.

Taking the sum of 30,000 deaths per annum in UK, add some 40,000 from France and then the rest of Europe and we have well over 100,000 deaths due to exhaust pollution. One hundred thousand + deaths per year! If these souls were war dead, major ceremonies would have been held, plaques would have been placed in various venues and bronze statues raised in honour of our dead. But hey, most deaths are just a scattering of ordinary Joe’s.

thIQB7HPADA staggering death tally and the silence of our politicians’ hammers home a truth, a terrible truth – profit before people. As the death toll rises the EU is set to permit double the official limit of toxic emissions until 2021 and at 50% above thereafter. (Guardian) These targets I can only assume are based on the lab-tests so discredited by Which?.

Our leaders may suggest that their rationale is governed on the available science.

  • They encouraged people to buy diesel.
  • They are allowing the continuation of the pollution, beyond 2021.
  • We have the technology to build better engines. Now!
  • Since 1993 they have had knowledge of the cause and effect of car pollution.
  • The death toll is rising.
  • The number of cars on our roads will continue to increase. Pollution? Dah!

Roads

Roads go on

While we forget, and are

Forgotten like a star

That shoots and is gone.

Edward Thomas 1878 – 1917

The failure to insist on the use of better technology is an act of disdainful arrogance by the parties, the manufacturers and the politicians. The only conclusion to be drawn is that they are in cahoots. That our politicians skewed the advantage to industry is a surreptitious abrogation of their elected responsibility. It illustrates in graphic detail their utter contempt for the concept of democracy.

Q? What was the industry’s motivation? Profit!

Q? Will it ever end? Volkswagen is to pay $15 billion in compensation to USA drivers. Is this the necessary sting in the tail?

Do some good…..Join Robin Hood.