Personal car use is a leading source of Nitrogen dioxide and this harmful gas is one of the worst causes of breathing difficulties in the UK. When air pollution is at its highest it is a health concern for everyone in the vicinity. Even if you don’t live in a big city, you can still suffer the effects of air pollution. So, wherever you are, you are at risk of the harmful effects of rising air pollution.
The impact of air pollution on public health means that NHS costs could reach as much as £18.6 billion by 2035 unless action is taken. This is based on costs including GP visits, prescription costs, hospital treatment and social care due to long-term health conditions. Young children are the ones that are at the greatest risk of lifelong effects from air pollution
Cars using diesel on the road can be emitting as much as 12 times more pollutants than the EU maximum. Laboratory tests do not show true results as compared to real-world road conditions. That means you could be driving a car that is not as clean as you thought it was and this leads to more pollution and higher health risks in the UK.
A study shows that the risk of heart attacks, strokes and asthma is increased in places where there is higher air pollution in the UK. These facts show that changes need to be made now, as it is not only our future health that is at stake, but we are feeling real-time present effects. If the use of personal cars and emissions increase, then the risk is likely to increase too.
When it comes to emissions and the transport we choose, there are some lifestyle changes we can make to reduce the overall effect of pollution in our environment. Some solutions include:
Use public transport
Leave the car at home and take public transport and you will be doing your part to reduce pollution. More people using buses and trains means that there are fewer cars on the road and fewer emissions. Try to take fewer trips and that will further reduce the number of vehicles on the road. You might even be able to make savings when you purchase rail or bus passes for your commute.
An alternative to driving and parking at the workplace is to take advantage of commuter services. These are buses or shuttles that pick up employees from certain locations and take them to their worksites. Zeelo offers commuter services that give employees the option to leave their cars at home. 80% of Zeelo’s customers are leaving their cars at home and the average Zeelo takes 30 cars off the road. This not only saves companies on parking costs but reduces the CO2 impact dramatically.
Sharing lifts can half the amount of time you need to use your car and again reduces the number of cars on the road. Why not set up a lift share at work where you take it in turns to drive in, reducing the cost, the need for parking and pollution too. Your workplace might even encourage it and offer incentives for those who lift-share especially those who are driving. You can do this in your personal life too. Pick up friends instead of taking two cars and make a small difference every day.
Walk or cycle
If you are close enough, walking is a great way to get some exercise and leave the car at home. Save some money and the planet at the same time. You could also only drive a short distance and then walk the rest of the way which is still reducing the number of pollutants in your vehicle. Some employees offer a cycle-to-work scheme which gives you the opportunity to purchase cycling equipment at a reduced price.
The effects of pollution are backed up by these terrifying facts that show transport emissions are a large factor in the increase in health problems in the UK and the cost to treat these illnesses. But there is still time to make changes to reduce the effects of air pollution and improve air quality for future generations. Many people making a small change to our transport habits can have a massive impact on the environment.