Has Dieselgate Permanently Damaged Our Planet?
Air pollution has become a problem of global magnitude. It is both an environmental and health hazard that politicians, authorities, campaign groups, businesses, and governments have taken advantage of over the years. What’s alarming is that regardless of who has the front seat in the fight against toxic air, everyone is affected, especially those residing in highly populated and traffic-congested towns, cities, and countries.
In 2017, Environmental Health Analytics conducted a study that provided evidence that premature deaths totalling 38,000 worldwide were linked to NOx emissions that exceeded World Health Organization’s (WHO) regulated limits. A large number of these premature deaths happened in Europe, where more focus is given to CO2 or carbon dioxide compared to nitrogen oxide or NOx.
What is NOx and why is it dangerous?
According to 2018 reports, 31% of the emissions in the UK in the said year came from road transport, specifically diesel and gasoline engines. This is where nitrogen oxide comes from. Diesel vehicles emit NOx into the air.
Nitrogen oxide is produced when NO or nitric oxide and NO2 or nitrogen dioxide join together and react. It has adverse effects on human health and negatively impacts the environment. A catalyst for acid rain and smog, this highly reactive gas is also responsible for creating ground-level ozone, a pollutant that significantly affects vegetation and makes crops and plants more susceptible to frost and damage.
NOx emissions are high in most parts of the UK, and this exposes residents to poor air quality. As a result, many suffer from its health impacts. Nitrogen oxide emissions are known to trigger depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. Studies have also proved that exposure to NOx emissions can increase a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other illnesses caused by weakened cognitive abilities.
The most dangerous effects of NOx are on a person’s general health. Regardless of the level of exposure, the following impacts can develop:
- Bronchitis, emphysema, and other respiratory illnesses
- Problems or difficulty in breathing
- Lung problems, specifically the chronic reduction of lung function
- Increased risk for certain cancers
- Spasm of the vocal cords (also known as laryngospasm)
- Cardiovascular diseases
- Early death
Over the years, the volume of excess NOx has increased to approximately 500,000 tonnes. This has had devastating effects on the environment and human health. Air quality continues to decline and every year, more and more lives are shortened.
This could have been prevented or emissions could have been lessened significantly had the Dieselgate scandal not happened. The diesel emissions scam contributed to and may have worsened the air pollution problem.
Diesel emissions scandal
The Volkswagen Group received a notice from the United States EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) and the California Air Resources Board one September day in 2015. The notice alleged that the manufacturer’s Audi and Volkswagen diesel vehicles sold in the US were fitted with defeat devices, which are intended to cheat emissions testing.
Defeat devices are illegal because they manipulate emissions when it detects that a vehicle is being tested. It lowers emissions levels using artificial techniques, ensuring that these stay within WHO-mandated limits.
However, even if the vehicle appears to authorities as fuel-efficient, this all changes once the car or van is out of the lab and driven on real roads – it shifts back to its default settings and begins to release voluminous amounts of nitrogen oxide emissions, at levels that go beyond WHO and EU-regulated limits.
Volkswagen mis-sold the vehicles to their customers and allowed defeat devices to contribute to the already major problem of air pollution. The carmaker has spent billions on class-action cases, group litigations, and fines. Thousands upon thousands of affected VW diesel vehicles have also been recalled for emissions correction.
The VW Group is not the only vehicle manufacturer involved in the diesel emissions scandal. Mercedes-Benz and its parent company Daimler have also been in the spotlight for years for their use of defeat devices in Mercedes diesel vehicles in the US, the UK, and the whole of Europe.
Other carmakers were eventually implicated in the scandal, including Renault, Alfa Romeo, Nissan, BMW, Vauxhall, and Peugeot.
For their deceit and lies, carmakers should be held responsible, especially since NOx emissions can destroy and shorten lives. Affected car owners should bring forward a Dieselgate compensation claim.
Make a claim, Fight air pollution
Every small act directed towards the fight against air pollution is a big help. If you are one of the affected car owners, do your part by bringing your manufacturer to court and making a diesel claim against them. The environmental, financial, and health-related trauma that you’ve had to face is your carmaker’s fault. They should compensate you for all these inconveniences.
Before starting the diesel emissions claim process, though, you have to verify if you are eligible to make a claim. Get in touch with the emissions experts at ClaimExperts.co.uk. They’re trained to help you determine your eligibility for bringing a diesel claim against your carmaker.