The replacement of combustion vehicles for electric carss is already beginning to bear fruit, promoting a decrease in deaths related to pollution. And that still the former continue to clearly dominate in number over the latter.
For this reason, the introduction of measures aimed at facilitating the purchase of electric cars, as well as promoting the use of public transport and bicycles it is a commitment to the quality of life of human beings to which perhaps we are not paying enough attention.
It is the conclusion of a study that has just been published in PNAS from the hand of scientists from Harvard Chan School Department of Environmental Health. In it, data from the United States is analyzed, although it can be extrapolated to other countries. After all, no matter where we come from, breathing cleaner air can only improve our health. Of course, it can also be very beneficial when it comes to fight against climate change. However, this study focuses only on health. A highly desired consequence that, in fact, is being among the first to appear. But let’s see what else these researchers have to say.
The dangers of pollution to health
In the study they have focused mainly on the emission of PM 2.5 particles, which are those whose diameter is less than 2.5 microns.
Being so small, they can easily infiltrate the lungs, depositing in them or passing into the bloodstream. The result is a deterioration in lung and cardiovascular health, which increases the probability of mortality in people highly exposed to this type of contamination.
It is known that emissions from combustion vehicles favor the increase of these particles in the atmosphere. For this reason, this study analyzed how the influence of introduction of electric cars and other measures aimed at reducing emissions in the mortality of people in the United States.
Data from four different years were observed: 2008, 2011, 2014 and 2017. In addition, simulations were carried out in which factors from different years were mixed.
Factors such as the mortality from pollution-related causes, the type of vehicles and the number of them that circulated during the year, the emissions measured in the atmosphere and the proportion of the population that is aged and, therefore, more susceptible to the influence of polluting substances.
In this way they saw that deaths attributable to air pollution due to vehicle emissions were reduced from 27,700 in 2008 to 19,800 in 2017. It is a good reduction; but even so, it could be considered small.
Therefore, they affected a very important piece of information. And it is that in those 9 years the size of the vehicles increased, as did the population, which increased and aged. In addition, freight transport became more intense, so that more vehicles were traveling more kilometers. Therefore, if all those figures that were increasing in 2017 had existed in 2008, with fewer electric cars and more polluting policies, the deaths that year it would have been 48,200. And that is already a huge difference compared to 2017.
More electric cars and bicycles
This study concludes that walking or cycling, as well as use electric cars Instead of the classic combustion, they can be life-saving measures.
However, it is not always straightforward. Not all cities have lanes that facilitate traffic safe movement of bicycles, for example. And electric cars are still out of pocket.
Therefore, the conclusion of this study is that governments should encourage both behaviors, given the importance that this has for public health. In fact, in their work they not only analyze the number of deaths. They also take into account the economic savings it represents at a social level, including, of course, the health expenses. And the figure is not negligible; since, according to the models carried out, the reduction in pollution in 2017 meant 270,000 million dollars in social benefits.
Ultimately, these financial savings could help incentivize those measures that we have already seen can save thousands of lives. Of course, it is a compendium of many things. Simply introducing electric cars is not the solution. In fact, it would be necessary to see how it also affects the atmosphere its mass production. But, at least for now, we have seen that increasing its use and combining it with other cleaner forms of displacement may be what the planet needs, but also what we need ourselves. Even if it is because of that selfishness that moves the human being so much, we should try to continue down that path.