Suddenly everyone is talking about air pollution – which is great – but there’s a lot of misunderstanding and little awareness of the real cause and how we can rapidly make a difference. Here’s our attempt to throw some light on the whole situation:
40,000 deaths a year linked to air pollution….
Recently, more and more research has been conducted that highlights the impact of air pollution on our health and well-being. At the end of last year, NICE (the National Institute for Health and Care Excellence) published a draft guideline about air pollution, naming the emissions produced by road traffic as a large contributor.
NICE suggested that in the UK, there are 25,000 premature deaths a year as a result of the emissions produced by motor vehicles. A report published by the Royal Colleges of Physicians and of Paediatrics and Child Health advises that there are 40,000 avoidable early deaths per year in the UK that are linked to air pollution as a whole. To read more about the NICE draft guideline, have a look at our blog post by clicking here.
Could air pollution be linked to dementia?
A study was carried out in Canada that found there may be a connection between dementia and pollution, finding that those who live in urban areas have an 11% greater chance of being diagnosed with dementia. The results were not definitive as there are many other factors to take into consideration, but ultimately, it’s becoming increasingly clear that the pollution created by vehicles is doing damage to both our health and our wallets!
Air pollution causes changes to bacteria which may affect human health
Black carbon is a product of burning fossil fuels, and is one of the more harmful emissions produced with numerous potential health hazards. Scientists have linked it to cardiopulmonary disease and it has also been suggested that it might actually cause disease, because it carries a range of dangerous chemicals into our bodies.
At the University of Leicester, a study was recently conducted into black carbon and its effects on the bacteria that live in our respiratory tracts (the nose, throat and lungs). They focused on the two bacteria which are both major causes of respiratory disease in humans called Staphylococcus aureus and Streptococcus pneumoniae. These both have high levels of resistance to antibiotics and are in the WHO’s global lists of 12 priority pathogens.
The UK is potentially facing legal action from the EU for breaching air pollution limits, so there has been a lot of pressure on the Government to try and find a solution to this ever-growing problem… And fast.
There have been a number of suggestions, from taxing vehicles that produce higher quantities of harmful emissions, to introducing diesel scrappage schemes, to incentivising cleaner, more efficient vehicles. However, all of these potential solutions would take a long time to implement, and it would probably be a number of years before we actually saw any real benefits.
However, here at Lightfoot, we have discovered that the quickest, easiest way of tackling the immense problem of air pollution is to change the way people drive, rather than the vehicles they use (although in an ideal world, of course we would change both!). We’ve found that an old, inefficient vehicle that’s driven smoothly can actually be more efficient than a new car with all the latest technology. It doesn’t require much change and Lightfoot has discovered that, with the right support, rewards and incentives, everyone is capable of adopting a far more efficient driving style.
How Lightfoot can help
So far, we’ve listened to all sorts of suggestions to solve the problem, since air pollution is an issue so close to our hearts, and we’ve also heard a lot of outrage. Whether that’s from diesel-owners who were convinced to buy their cars by the government, back when they were deemed better for the environment than petrol vehicles, or from people complaining about how reduced speed limits on motorways are just another source of revenue for local councils. Some people have asserted that public transport isn’t receiving anywhere near the funding needed to make it a viable alternative to private vehicles. One way or another, these suggestions are being met with resistance from the general population, and ultimately, we need people onside with whatever route we choose if we really want to make any difference to the problem of air pollution.
This is where Lightfoot comes in. Our drivers have been nothing but positive about the effects the device has had both on their driving and on the environment, reducing CO2 levels by 10-20%, NOX emissions by 20% and particulates by 15%, along with encouraging a calmer, more relaxed driving style and reducing the risk of accidents by up to 40%. We’ve found a solution to the problem that is not only possible to implement straight-away, but that is more digestible to the general population than splashing out on new vehicles. It involves little or no government involvement and actually means drivers are better off, through the rewards and incentives provided by Lightfoot to its Elite Drivers.
Want to know how Lightfoot can help you adopt a greener, safer, more efficient driving style? Click here to find out.