Despite the global attempts and numerous programs implemented to reduce pollution, a 2019 study showed that water, chemical, and air pollution still caused millions of deaths around the world. Nine million people’s lives ended prematurely in 2019 – figures that have not changed since 2015.
Published by The Lancet Planetary Health, the study also emphasised that most of the deaths occurred in places without proper anti-pollution and public health programs, and in low- and middle-income countries. Despite pollution being recognised as a major environmental risk and the primary cause of premature deaths, some governments and authorities still do not have definitive and strict laws for preventing it.
Pollution does not only affect the environment and human health, though; it also has a significant impact on the global economy, especially in the low- and middle-income countries specified in the study.
It is also important to note that aside from the lack of laws and programs, the thousands of premature deaths are also a result of other factors:
- The global population continues to increase every year
- Unplanned urbanisation
- Fossil fuel-burning
- Climate change
- People not properly caring for the environment
More than half of the deaths recorded in 2019 were linked to elevated levels of polluted air. At the time of the study, over six million premature deaths were linked to outdoor and indoor air pollution. With the current levels of air pollution, the numbers should have increased over the years.
Action is needed
For the situation to start improving, people should be made more aware of the importance of keeping the environment clean and safe. Information about the devastating effects of pollution should be made known to the public. This is bound to inspire positive action from communities and individuals.
Professor Philip Landrigan of Boston College believes that it is important to encourage carmakers and drivers to switch to renewable, cleaner, and safer energy and stop using fossil fuels. This shift will help reduce dangerous emissions, specifically carbon, particulate matter, and NOx or nitrogen oxide.
Aside from destroying the environment, exposure to air pollution also has adverse impacts on one’s health. This is why the diesel emissions scandal in 2015 is considered one of the most controversial issues that rocked the global automotive industry.
What was the diesel emissions scandal about?
Diesel-powered vehicles contribute to air pollution as a major source of diesel emissions, specifically NOx. Described as highly reactive, nitrogen oxide is a combination of gases, including nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide. It is responsible for producing pollutants, one of which is the vegetation-damaging ground-level ozone.
Exposure to NOx emissions can lead to numerous health complications, such as:
- Anxiety and depression
- A decline in cognitive health leading to dementia
- Pulmonary oedema
- Cardiovascular illnesses
NOx emissions, and air pollution in general, are linked to thousands of premature deaths worldwide. It is considered just as dangerous as HIV and AIDS, alcohol and drug addiction, and cigarette smoking.
These impacts are the reasons why the diesel emissions scandal in 2015 became a global issue that continues for carmakers and car owners to this day.
Popularly known as Dieselgate, the scandal exposed thousands (even millions) of drivers across the world to NOx emissions after German carmaker the Volkswagen Group was accused of using defeat devices to cheat on regulatory tests. Authorities in the US said that Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles equipped with the devices were sold in the American market even if VW knew they weren’t emissions-compliant.
The device installed in diesel vehicles can sense when testing is about to start and when it does, emissions are immediately lowered according to legal limits. A defeat device does this using technology that can temporarily control emissions. While the vehicle will appear safe and clean to regulators, this is only temporary because once brought out of the lab and driven on real-world roads, the vehicle reverts to emitting illegal levels of NOx that often exceed EU and World Health Organization limits by at least 40 times.
Authorities accused VW of misleading customers into paying a prime amount for a vehicle that exposed them to elevated levels of air pollution.
Other carmakers were soon drawn into the scandal, including another German manufacturer, BMW. The carmaker had to recall over 11,000 of their luxury vehicles in 2018 because of the alleged use of defeat devices. The German Federal Motor Transport Authority (KBA) alleged that BMW vehicles released higher levels of NOx emissions compared to laboratory test results. With the help of their lawyers, affected drivers started a BMW emissions claim.
VW, BMW, and all the other carmakers accused of using defeat devices are responsible for contributing more toxic air. They also exposed drivers – and the public – to elevated levels of life-altering NOx emissions. Authorities encourage all affected drivers to bring these carmakers to court through a diesel claim.
Should I file my diesel claim now?
Filing a diesel claim against your carmaker should be your priority if you want to hold them accountable for their illegal actions. They chose to gain profit over keeping you safe. They owe you.
Before starting your emission claim, ensure first that you are qualified to receive emissions compensation. Visit ClaimExperts.co.uk to get all the details you need. Once done, sit down with an emissions expert to plan out your diesel claim.