Energy & Environment

How air pollution is killing us silently?

how air pollution is killing us

Air pollution continues to kill ~13 people every minute on the global basis, with evidence revealing new relations between polluted air and uncertain health effects. With air pollution killing us, as and when urbanization increases the situation is expected to be become even worse. 

Cities worldwide continue to take action to counter air pollution. Therefore, ~50 cities which are participating in C40’s Cities Clean Air Accelerator and around 35 cities from C40’s Green and Healthy Streets Accelerator are focused on launching unique strategies and clear initiatives to clean air and safeguard wellbeing of residents. 

Are any efforts being made to combat air pollution?

Previous 5 years saw strong growth in new initiatives focused on reducing air pollution. These initiatives range from vehicle-access restrictions to electrifying public bus fleets and involved some mitigation of on-site emissions from the buildings. 

While air pollution killing us is a matter of serious concern, there are cities in the C40 Network which are focused on tackling air pollution. Initiatives from them range from waste-reduction initiatives to supporting green public transport. 

It goes without saying that transportation has been a significant contributor to urban air pollution. As a result of this, several government are implementing stricter measures, which includes limiting polluting vehicles from making an entry in certain areas or even entire cities. Such actions are critical to overall initiatives and are focused on achieving climate objectives and improving urban mobility.

These initiatives are transforming cities and lives to healthier, more liveable communities. Experts believe that air pollution killing us and communities should be addressed through collaboration between businesses and government. 

London has recently expanded Ultra Low Emission Zone (ULEZ) so that its Greater London area gets covered. This should help in creating largest clean air zone globally. Since ULEZ, it was seen that nitrogen dioxide (NO2) levels fell by ~50% in central London in comparison to the scenario without ULEZ. 

Over 95% of vehicles being driven in London should meet compliance standards set by ULEZ emissions standards. This exhibits an increase from just ~39% in 2017. This was helped by £270 million scrappage scheme which was launched by Mayor of London. 

This has allowed more than 60,000 Londoners, businesses and charities to change or modify their older, polluting vehicles and opt for cleaner, environment-friendly modes of transport. 

Policies and structures in London, like central ULEZ, made the contributions to reductions in hospital admissions related to asthma associated to air pollution of ~30% in 2017 to 2019 in comparison to period between 2014 – 2016. 

What lies ahead? Are there any initiatives underway?

Madrid, Milan and Seoul are focused on expanding low-emission zones and efforts are being made to impose tougher limits on number of polluting vehicles. 

Warsaw is expected to introduce Strefy Czystego Transportu (SCT) in July 2024 month, which is targeting to restrict high-polluting vehicles in ~7% of the city.

Bogotá’s Urban Zones for Better Air which is developed with local communities is targeting pollution from transportation and industry to improve the overall air quality and public health while, at the same time, revitalizing public spaces. 

Cities have been electrifying public transport too so that they can reduce emissions and address air quality targets. In ~3 years, European and Latin American cities in C40 Green and Healthy Streets Accelerator have doubled their electric buses, which means they are focusing on electrifying mobility. 

As a result of this focus, London is having ~1,300 zero-emission buses, while Seoul operates more than ~1,000 electric buses. The count of hydrogen fuel cell buses has been increased to ~27 buses. Currently, Santiago is having 2,000 electric buses, which makes up for ~31% of its fleet. 

Delhi has ~1,300 electric buses. Even though there has been some progress, such cities still see challenges to fully electrify vehicle fleets. Challenges include financing, establishing charging infrastructure and grid capacity constraints. 

Besides transportation, what other areas are being looked at?

Cities are focused on addressing emissions on other industries and sectors apart from transportation. Other industries include buildings and energy production. They are implementing initiatives and procedures to improve building efficiency, ramp up performance standards and transition away from fossil fuels for heating and cooking.

Ban on utilising non-class coal and wood boilers in Warsaw started in January 2023 month. Since October 2023, this consists of burning or lighting coal in households. Apart from this, Warsaw gave subsidies and grants for replacement of domestic solid fuel heating systems for greener and cleaner renewable heating alternatives since the year 2018.

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I'm Ved Prakash, Founder & Editor @Newsblare Media, specialised in Business and Finance niches who writes content for reputed publication such as,, Motley Fool Singapore, etc. I'm the contributor of different... news sites that have widened my views on the current happenings in the world.

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