In average, one person eats 1 kg food and drinks 2 kg (2 liter) water every day, compared to breathing about 13 kg of air per day, which is 4x more than he/she eats and drinks. The air we breathe is a mix of pollutants that come from various sources or are created from different chemical reactions in the atmosphere. Air pollution is a big issue, yet sometimes we ignore it. Because we all do not face air pollution equally. Even within a city there are places with more polluted air than other corners of the same city. But we have to realize that air pollution is a global issue. Air pollution can cause short term and long term health problems, mainly in elderly and young kids. We need to take some sincere steps to make the air around us less toxic.
Electric Vehicles (EVs)
Introduction of electric vehicles on roads can be a great step towards achieving this goal. The internal combustion engine (in gasoline/ petrol or diesel vehicles) is one the major cause of air pollution.
UK’s first step towards its 2040 goal
Couple of months back Britain had announced that it would ban on the sale of new diesel and gas vehicles by year 2040, to improve its poor air quality. Following that announcement, the 500 years old postal service company “Royal Mail” introduced its 9 new electric delivery trucks/ vans, that would hopefully reduce the amount of air and noise pollution in London. These trucks come in 3.5, 6 and 7.5 tonnes models, and they are capable of traveling 100 miles on a single change. In UK, especially in London, the worst offenders of air and noise pollution are delivery vans/ trucks. These delivery vehicles emit 23 times the level of toxins legal in the UK. The most amazing thing about these trucks is that it has same price as diesel delivery trucks.
Nine electric delivery vans certainly won’t make any significant difference in terms of lowering the air (and noise) pollution in London, but this is a great start! It shows how serious Londoners are about the air pollution issue. The launch of these electric delivery trucks will create the infrastructure for future EVs (electric vehicles). According to Nissan, within next 3 years electric charging stations will outnumber gas stations.
Should Delhi Be More Concerned?
Is air pollution a that big issue in London? Actually,Yes! Just like any other big city, the danger of air pollution in the UK is very real.
If London (UK) is that much serious, should we Indians (especially Delhiites) be worried? Definitely! We are in much worse condition when in comes to air and noise pollution. We all realize this fact, yet the problem is that we ignore it, for some reason. Perhaps, we are hesitant to take any action, because we know we have to take some real drastic and may be uncomfortable actions to fight air pollution. And the action Delhi government is taking to fight air pollution is far from being enough. If you compare Delhi’s air pollution with London, you will be shocked. It’s 2x higher than London. Despite the presence of moderate numbers of quality of green and parks in Delhi, Delhiites are getting exposed to dangerous amount of air pollution during outdoor activities, every day.
India will go EVs by 2030
Here is a good news for you! India is one of those few countries that has announced it would go electric-vehicles by 2030. It’s definitely a bold statement for a highly populated country like India, but for the successful implementation we have to take actions from now. Trying to lowering the number of vehicles (for example by allowing private vehicles with odd and even registration numbers to alternate days on the Delhi’s roads.) may not be a practical solution in the long run. We need to follow what London is trying to achieve. We need to introduce electric vehicles for public service purposes. Slowly, we could increase the number of electric-vehicles in the city. Create more and more charging points, which will encourage even the general public to purchase electric-vehicles (cars).
What else we could do?
- Walk or cycle to work or school and encouraging people to do the same.
- We need more plants and trees around us. These plants and trees can take carbon monoxide from the air and can keep the air clean.