Air Pollution Deaths: A Harsh Reality in Europe

Air pollution is a silent menace that is affecting the health of millions worldwide. Despite governments taking measures to curb the issue, a new study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health has revealed that air pollution is the biggest environmental cause of mortality in Europe. This study brings to light some tough realities that we need to take seriously.

The study has identified transport, domestic activities and agriculture as the primary contributors towards air pollution-related deaths in European cities. The use of vehicles that emit nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and PM2.5, fine particle matter in the atmosphere, is one of the biggest culprits. In fact, emissions from vehicles alone lead to 50% of all NO2-related deaths. Industrial pollution and fumes generated by the energy sector are other significant contributors.

Great take By James Carter on LinkedIn

We need a health tax on IC vehicles.
FACT: Internal Combustion vehicle exhaust pollution is Europe’s biggest killer.
“If we look at NO2 and PM2.5 combined, traffic remains the largest contributor to both poor air quality and associated mortality.” Sasha Khomenko, Institute for Global Health

Lowering CO2 emissions through phasing out IC vehicles is incredibly important.
Yet, just as important is the realization that IC vehicles create MANY other forms of pollution, chief among which is poisonous tailpipe emissions.
It’s those tailpipe emissions which has been identified as the leading cause of deaths in Europe.
What is also important is that other large contributors to poor air quality all revolve around burning fossil fuels, such as coal, natural gas and petroleum products.
Simply put, by going electric with clean energy drastically improves our health.
Its why I believe all IC vehicles need a health tax as we’ve treated the air as a public sewer for far too long. That way IC drivers pay for the medical costs caused by their pollution.

Do you support a health tax on IC vehicles?

In addition to vehicle emissions, the use of coal and gas-related heating systems for domestic activities is also a leading cause of PM2.5-related deaths. Agriculture, specifically livestock farming and the use of fertilizers, is another major contributor to air pollution-related deaths.

Cruise and cargo ships are causing significant maritime traffic pollution. In 2022 alone, it led to 10,116 air pollution-related deaths across Europe. This source of pollution is often left unaddressed, and it is high time that steps are taken to curb it.

In recent years, the use of renewable energy sources has been on the rise, and there have been attempts to move away from fossil fuels. However, it is clear that we need to do more. Governments and businesses must work together to implement policies and actions that promote the use of sustainable transportation methods, reduce emissions from industrial activities, and increase the use of renewable energy sources. We can all make small changes in our daily lives, too, such as reducing the use of cars and avoiding the use of coal and gas for household activities.

The latest study by the Barcelona Institute for Global Health highlights the severity of air pollution in Europe. It is essential that we take this seriously and act promptly to address it. The use of sustainable transportation methods, the reduction of industrial emissions, and the increased use of renewable energy sources are some of the most effective ways to address this issue. However, we must all do our part in making small changes to our daily lives to reduce our contribution to air pollution. Together, we can create a better future for our planet and ourselves.