What is the Link Between Vehicle Emissions and Asthma?

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The growing problem of vehicle emissions profoundly impacts our health and environment. One of the reasons why traffic pollution is so high in some parts of the world is due to the diesel engines used in cars.

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Volkswagen’s involvement in the diesel emission scandal made headlines worldwide for cheating vehicle emissions tests and emitting pollution levels 40 times higher than the legal limit.

The scandal, which involved millions of diesel cars, revealed the systemic failure of the automotive industry to comply with pollution standards.

It led to renewed calls for stricter emissions regulations and the need for manufacturers to prioritize the development of cleaner technologies.

What is the Link Between Vehicle Emissions and Asthma?

Link Between Vehicle Emissions and Asthma

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A study has recently emerged linking traffic pollution to as many as 2 million childhood asthma cases every year. This alarming statistic highlights the need for action, as it is putting the health and well-being of millions of children at risk.

Asthma: What Is It?

The World Health Organization estimates that over 260 million people are suffering from asthma worldwide. Asthma is a long-term condition that specifically targets your lung’s airways.

When someone with asthma comes into contact with specific triggers such as smoke, dust, or pollen, the airways become inflamed, narrow, and produce excess mucus.

This makes breathing harder, causing wheezing, coughing, and shortness of breath, so what to do for breath easier.

The Link Between Vehicle Emissions and Asthma

Traffic is a major contributor to air pollution, emitting harmful gases like nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and particulate matter (PM2.5). These gases can cause significant harm to respiratory health, which is why reducing traffic emissions is critical.

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Children are particularly vulnerable to the effects of traffic pollution due to their developing respiratory systems and increased exposure to pollutants.

Air pollution can negatively affect children’s lung development, increasing the risk of chronic respiratory diseases like asthma. It can also cause other health issues like cardiovascular disease and reduced cognitive function.

However, there is a glimmer of hope. The researchers found that the percentage of asthma cases in urban areas has decreased from 20% in 2000 to 16% in 2019. This positive trend is attributed to stricter clean air regulations in wealthier countries like the United States.

Despite this progress, the study also raises concerns about the worsening air pollution in regions like South Asia, Sub-Saharan Africa, and the Middle East. Urgent action is necessary to address these escalating harmful emissions and protect children’s health worldwide.

Children living in urban areas are often exposed to high levels of air pollution, often exceeding the recommended levels set by the World Health Organization.

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As a result, they are more likely to experience asthma-related symptoms, miss school days, and visit hospitals more frequently.

What are the Current Government Efforts to Address the Problem?

Governments and regulatory bodies worldwide are taking action to address the issue of air pollution resulting from vehicle emissions. The European Union, for instance, has set limits on the amount of pollutants that vehicles can emit.

However, these limits have been criticized for not being stringent enough and for allowing car manufacturers to cheat emissions tests.

The government has announced plans in the UK to phase out new petrol and diesel cars by 2030. This is part of the country’s efforts to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. The UK has also implemented low-emission zones, where only vehicles that meet certain emissions standards can enter certain areas.

Several cities worldwide have also introduced measures to reduce vehicular emissions and improve air quality.

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In Madrid, for instance, high-polluting vehicles are banned within certain city zones. In Paris, the mayor has introduced a plan to ban diesel vehicles by 2025.

The Need for Change

The study’s findings highlight the need for urgent action to tackle traffic pollution. Governments and industry leaders must work together to implement measures that reduce the number of cars on the roads and improve air quality in our cities.

One such solution is the promotion of cleaner and more sustainable forms of transport, such as cycling, walking, or electric cars. Local authorities could also implement measures such as more car-free zones or congestion charges to reduce traffic in urban areas.

Finally, stricter emissions regulations must be implemented, and car manufacturers must commit to developing cleaner technologies that prioritize public health over profits.

The government and the public must also hold manufacturers accountable for diesel claims and prevent the proliferation of emissions-cheating devices.

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To find out how, click here. Clean air is a fundamental right, and we must work together to protect it for the benefit of our health and the health of future generations.

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