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Pollution Damaging Life Expectancy of Billions, Report Finds

Air pollution has long been a global problem. According to the World Health Organization, an estimated four million people die every year because of air pollution. Approximately 90% of the global human population constantly breathes dirty air. 

In Europe, the EEA (European Environment Agency) reported that polluted air has caused over 300,000 early deaths every year. Many Europeans also suffer from diseases and health complications resulting from constant exposure to dirty air. 

Despite the multiple steps that the European Union has taken to improve the quality of air in major European cities, some of the world’s highly polluted cities are found in Europe. One of these cities is the UK’s London, which is home to around 15 million residents who are exposed to polluted air every day. Many cities around the world have the same problem nowadays. 

Air pollution around the world

A report published in September 2021 indicated that billions of human lives are cut short every year because of air pollution. It has become a major health threat more dangerous than HIV and AIDS and smoking, and more life-threatening than war.

According to the report, the lives of people regularly exposed to air pollution are cut short by a maximum of six years. India is on top of the list, with extremely high pollution levels that have resulted in premature deaths. On average, residents lose around 5.9 years because of poor air quality. In addition, approximately 480 million of India’s residents, specifically those living in the northern part, breathe in dirty air that is over 10 times above any region. 

If the air quality in many parts of the country remains low, residents’ lives can be shortened by about nine years, including those who reside in the cities of Kolkata and Delhi. 

Other countries that are in the top five list of places with the highest numbers of lost years due to polluted air are Singapore with 3.8 years, Pakistan with 3.9 years, and Nepal with 5 years. 

In other parts of the world, particularly the western and central parts of Africa, particulate pollution has caused premature deaths, with people losing an average of 3.4 years of their life (and possibly a maximum of almost six years). Air pollution has become a major problem in the same manner that malaria and HIV and AIDS have been for years. Despite the lives lost, the high volumes of particulate pollution haven’t received the kind of attention they deserve.

One of the countries that have been successfully battling poor air quality is China, which started its war against pollution around nine years ago. The action has helped bring down toxic air levels by at least 29%, which can add around 1.5 years to residents’ lives if the program will continue to be strictly implemented. 

Where toxic air comes from

According to University of Chicago professor and Air Quality Life Index or AQLI co-developer Michael Greenstone, in most parts of the world, the cause of the problem is coal. Another source of toxic air is fossil gas, which may be less polluting compared to coal but is still harmful because gas-burning results in global heating and does not promote carbon neutrality.

Other global issues have also significantly contributed to the problem. This includes wildfires caused by the current climate crisis and years-long issues such as the 2015 diesel emissions scandal. 

Diesel emissions are a major issue, especially in Europe and the UK, which is still deep into the Dieselgate scandal that involves some of the most popular automotive brands in the world, including Volkswagen and Mercedes-Benz. The scam contributed to the high levels of NO2 or nitrogen dioxide pollution in the UK and other parts of Europe. These levels are way over the legal limits that the EU has set. According to 2020 reports, the Greater London Urban Area is 1.9 times over the legal limit while South Wales’ levels are in excess by 1.6 times. 

The Dieselgate scandal

In September 2015, Volkswagen was found to have cheated its customers when the carmaker sold diesel vehicles fitted with illegal defeat devices. The devices were used to cheat on emissions levels whenever a vehicle was in testing so that levels are kept within the legal limit. However, when driven under real-world road conditions, the vehicle’s emission levels were found to be about four times over the limit set by the WHO and EU. 

Vehicle emissions are known as NOx or nitrogen oxides, a combination of gases, particularly NO2 and NO or nitric oxides. They are responsible for forming acid rain, smog, and ground-level pollution. Exposure to such emissions can cause several health problems, such as lung problems, asthma and aggravated asthma, respiratory ailments, and in extreme cases, premature deaths.

The affected car manufacturers lied to their customers. As such, car owners can claim diesel compensation for the inconvenience the scandal caused them. Mercedes emissions claim details are available on their website, and other affected manufacturers also provide information on their sites.

However, working with a panel of emissions solicitors is the best thing to do. The solicitors at have created a knowledgeable and helpful panel of solicitors to assist. s. They know exactly what affected car owners need to get compensation from their manufacturers. Get in touch with them now and contribute to the fight against air pollution.

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