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In recent years diesel vehicles have enjoyed a great popularity, welcomed as more environmentally friendly than petrol vehicles, because they burn less fuel producing overall less CO2.

However, new studies have revealed that diesel engines burn fuel less cleanly than petrol-driven models, causing a large excess of particulates, the fine soot left behind in the exhaust fumes.

In relation to that, experts have indicated that these particles of soot represent the worst environmental menace to humans. In this way, particulates are one of the most dangerous element in air pollution, due to their severe impact on human health, especially damaging the lungs when inhaled.

Additionally, studies have shown the link between diesel particles and lung cancer: with other major factors such as poor diet and smoking, the high levels of diesels recorded in many big cities as London have been associated with significant health problems.

According to the medical community, diesel particulate emissions are more dangerous for children: this kind of pollution can cause a permanent stunting of lung growth, experts warn.

Some experts have highlighted that current mechanisms are inadequate to overcome this alarming situation, favoring diesel over petrol. In line with this, the government need to establish stricter policies to reduce the harmful impact of diesel pollution.

According to a growing number of experts, taxing diesel more heavily and regulating its use more strictly could represent the more adequate solution to fight pollution caused by diesels emissions, stressing that higher taxes in urban areas may represent the best approach.

In this framework, the major of London has recently launched a stronger policy with the aim to fight pollution, increasing charges for diesel vehicles. However, the European Commission has shown that most European states tax diesel at a lower headline rate.

In this situation, the motoring lobby and automotive industries play a significant role influencing the decisions of policymakers. To address the criticism, the automotive industry has stressed its effort to reduce emissions establishing efficient instruments, as new filters.

Moreover, experts have suggested that tax does not represent the only means to mitigate the impact of diesel use. According to environmental specialists, the governments need to undertake new policies such as incentivizing ultra-low-emission vehicles, integrating public transport and increasing city-centre pedestrian-zed areas.


The gLAWcal Team

EPSEI project

Wednesday, 06 August 2014

(source: The Guardian)