Air Pollution And Diesel Transportation: A Significant Killer

Buckingham Palace

Driving Polluting Diesel And Petrol Cars Is A Death Sentence For Children.  That Is The Bottom-Line! 


And Just In Case Anyone Is Confused: The Air You Pollute Is The Same Air You Breathe!


On Sunday evening, the sun had finally decided to grace us with some well deserved sunshine.  I ran eagerly to my local park, St James’s Park.  Despite sitting in the midst of a million tourists crowding the vicinity of Buckingham Palace and St James’s Park, I was happy to feel the warmth of the autumn sunshine on my face.  

As I sat down to enjoy the feast of the sunshine, beautiful blue skies and fresh air, the children scrambling around with infinite enthusiasm and energy caught my attention.  Just last week, local newspapers and other publications, screamed headlines about the dangerous levels of air pollution in London, and in particular the parks, as a result of the outcome of a recent study conducted by the Imperial College London and the University of Leicester.

  • London’s ‘poisoned lungs’ revealed: survey shows quarter of green spaces are now dangerously polluted (The Telegraph)
  • The scandal of London’s air (Bloomberg)
  • One in four of London’s green spaces breaches air quality safety limits (Imperial College London)
  • Quarter of London parks break limits on filthy air (Evening Standard)

The city-wide study found children in London at significant increased health risk due to pollution levels that breach the World Health Organisation and and European Union Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) limits.  The study included 4,470 parks and open spaces in London.  Though the research focussed on London, we believe it could be a credible barometer for air pollution in other cities in the U.K. 

  • 24% of play spaces breached NO2 safety standards 
  • 27% of public parks breached NO2 safety standard 
  • 67% of private parks breached NO2 safety standard 
  • 250,000 children live near green spaces that have NO2 levels that are in breach 
St James's Park London High Levels of NO2
St James’s Park, London: High Levels of NO2

According to Dr. Laure de Preux from Imperial College “We call London green spaces the ‘lungs of the city’ but increasingly we are seeing that these lungs are being poisoned by air pollution and not enough is being done about it.” The study has also launched a website that can educate and inform residents in London in regards to air pollution. 

In fact, we at e-zoomed had written an article on air pollution earlier this year, followed by many other articles related to air pollution and electric vehicles.  

After all, zero-emission electric driving is a robust panacea to reducing the significant and real hazards of air pollution!

We have also written about the impact of pollution generated form diesel and petrol cars in relation to children.  We have stressed many times, that the best cars for school runs are all-electric cars.  In fact, another study conducted recently found a number of schools in the U.K. with high levels of pollution.  


Air Pollution: Toxic And Deadly


  • 40,000 deaths per year caused by air pollution.  If not checked, up to 2.4 million forecast to be harmed by the increasing level of pollution
  • Prolonged exposure to high level NO2 can damage lungs and is linked to childhood asthma
  • Another recent study found that babies living in areas with high levels of air pollution have a greater risk of death than those surrounded by clean air 
  • According to UNICEF “The impact of toxic air is undeniable.  The U.K. is home to more children suffering from respiratory conditions than anywhere else in Europe. Every 20 minutes a child experiencing an asthma attack is admitted to hospital.” 
  • A significant contributor to air pollution is road transportation, in particular diesel vehicles 

Not All Is Lost.  There Is Hope And Yes, You Can Make A Difference! 


  • The Queen’s speech has firmly placed ‘air pollution’ at the top of the agenda.  The Environment Bill announced today will set out a framework to tackle the air pollution crisis
  • Mayor of London, Sadiq Khan pledged that London will comply with the WHO air quality target by 2030 in the reduction of fine particulate matter (PM2.5).  This is part of the C40 Clean Air Cities Declaration unveiled this month in Copenhagen 
  • A significant increase in emission free all-electric models being introduced by global automotive manufacturers.  Below are just a few examples:
Nissan Leaf Hatch Electric
The Hugely Successful All-Electric Nissan Leaf

It is indeed encouraging to note that the government is committing firmly to deal with the air pollution crisis in London and in the U.K.  However, each one of us, also has the power to make a difference.  Below are just a few options:

  • Walk as often as possible to replace the use of road transportation 
  • When using road transportation, choose public transportation, where appropriate 
  • Avoid owning a car.  Use car clubs and in particular car clubs that have zero-emission electric cars 
  • If you have to own a car, then migrate to lower emission vehicles.  Best option are all-electric cars i.e. no tailpipe emissions. Also source green energy to power your home and charge your electric car 

We at e-zoomed are more than happy to assist you with all your EV needs to include:

And more!  Do sign up to our e-newsletter to learn more about electric cars. Also follow us on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. 



Author

Ashvin Suri

Ashvin has been involved with the renewables, energy efficiency and infrastructure sectors since 2006. He is passionate about the transition to a low-carbon economy and electric transportation. Ashvin commenced his career in 1994, working with US investment banks in New York. Post his MBA from the London Business School (1996-1998), he continued to work in investment banking at Flemings (London) and JPMorgan (London). His roles included corporate finance advisory, M&A and capital raising. He has been involved across diverse industry sectors, to include engineering, aerospace, oil & gas, airports and automotive across Asia and Europe. In 2010, he co-founded a solar development platform, for large scale ground and roof solar projects to include the UK, Italy, Germany and France. He has also advised on various renewable energy (wind and solar) utility scale projects working with global institutional investors and independent power producers (IPP’s) in the renewable energy sector. He has also advised in key international markets like India, to include advising the TVS Group, a multi-billion dollar industrial and automotive group in India. Ashvin has also advised Indian Energy, an IPP backed by Guggenheim (a US$ 165 billion fund). He has also advised AMIH, a US$ 2 billion, Singapore based group. Ashvin has also worked in the real estate and infrastructure sector, to including working with the Matrix Group (a US$ 4 billion property group in the UK) to launch one of the first few institutional real estate funds for the Indian real estate market. The fund was successfully launched with significant institutional support from the UK/ European markets. He has also advised on water infrastructure, to include advising a Swedish clean technology company in the water sector. He is also a member of the Forbury Investment Network advisory committee. He has also been involved with a number of early stage ventures.

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