Just a few days into 2017, the UK exceeded its air pollution limit for the entire year. With diesel vehicles being the biggest source of toxic air pollution on UK roads, this week Greenpeace launched a campaign to call on the top ten car brands in Britain to stop manufacturing diesel cars and commit to 100 per cent electric power in the future.

Companies including Ford, Mercedes and VW are amongst those being asked to make the switch, via a petition on the Greenpeace website.

Diesel vehicles contribute to the emission of nitrous oxide, said to be attributable to 40,000 early deaths every year and linked to a host of heart and lung conditions. Originally thought to be a ‘greener choice’ and more fuel efficient than petrol, controversy arose this month after carmaker VW pleaded guilty to the use of ‘defeat devices’ on nearly 600,000 diesel vehicles.

‘The devices appeared to allow them to pass emission tests,’ the law firm Harcus Sinclair said in an article published in The Guardian, although ‘the vehicles did not (and do not) meet the regulatory requirements necessary to register and sell a car in the UK, because the levels of nitrous oxide and nitrous dioxide (NOx) emitted are considered to be dangerous to public health.’

It is not enough to switch back to petrol says Greenpeace, as both diesel and petrol vehicles contribute towards climate change, but by taking diesel cars off the roads, there is the potential to cut air pollution from NOx by 40 per cent.

‘Now we know the truth about diesel,’ Greenpeace clean-air campaigner Mel Evans told us, ‘It’s time for the car industry to help redress the health crisis we’re facing.’

 

Words: Ellen White

Cover image: Simone Ramella


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