What is the impact of transport emissions on our environment?

Article credit - Justin Fox

All around the world each and every day, millions of vehicles embark on journeys without fail. An integral part of day to day work and pleasure, a world without cars, planes, and other varieties of transportation is virtually unthinkable.

However, the global impact of transportation on our environmental well-being is truly shocking. Due to the fossil fuels used to power the overwhelming majority of vehicles, the pollutant particles produced as a by-product are spewed into the atmosphere. Not only is this a major contributor to the ever expanding hole in the ozone layer, but the quality of air we are breathing in is also sharply reduced.

 

For example a number of weeks ago, the results of research into London’s air quality was labelled as ‘sickening’ by the London Mayor Sadiq Khan, disturbed as he was by the findings that showed how toxic the air in London was. Caused in no small part by the constant traffic on the city streets, such pollution has been directly linked with many thousands of deaths a year, as the invisible particles from transport emissions cause all types of health concerns, from respiratory issues to numerous forms of cancer.

Further cause for concern should be given over to the fact that it is not just one type of transportation that is proving so damaging. Whilst strides are being made on the political and technological fronts to curb the level of emissions from vehicles on the roads, planes and cargo ships continue to be significant sources of pollution due to the sheer power needed to move such hefty vehicles.

Yet with oil reserves being finite and eventually poised to run out, a cleaner solution will have to be found at some point if only for the sake of maintaining our current ways of life. Reducing the number of journeys undertaken is of course the ideal solution, but it is naïve to assume that all vehicles can be removed with the wave of a magic wand. Significant investment in alternative sources of energy is likely to be the crux of the matter, with current hybrid vehicles marking a definite positive step in the right direction. More needs to be done to build on this progress however, until the current rate of pollution is but a hazy image of the distant past.

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