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The Car Gets a Bad Reputation When it Comes to Air Pollution


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The Car Gets a Bad Reputation When it Comes to Air Pollution

As we are all aware there are many many causes of air pollution, and we all recognise that it is something that we need to work at reducing, for the sake our health and the planet and for future generations.  But why is it that the humble car is the first point of blame when talking about the quality of the air that we breathe?

Journalists are quick to point the blame solely at automobiles, in fact just this month the courts decided that the Government must do more to improve air quality and quite rightly so, but what followed was far from fair, because at least one independent BBC presenter gave a firm impression that the motor car, in particular the diesel-engine version, is the major source of air pollution.

There is one huge problem with this conclusion, that is isn’t the major source and its very unfair to mention cars and car makers again and again when it comes to this subject, without mentioning other offenders, some of them way more serious sources of pollution.

Why target one source of air pollution when countless other sources were, at best, barely acknowledged or, at worst, completely ignored?

Perhaps the answer is that it is too easy to lay the blame on automobiles instead of delving more deeply into other sources, often more political ones: including agriculture, animals, construction sites, factories, homes, humans, motorcycles, shops, offices, planes, ships, trains, trams and more – much, much more.

Mike Rutherford, a journalist from Auto Express agrees: “I urge the wealthy Beeb or its even wealthier master, the UK Government, to compile a 1-50 ranking of the worst air polluters. And I confidently warn you in advance that modern motor cars owned by working folk like you and I will be nowhere near the top of the league.”

Perhaps it is time we stopped making the car industry the scapegoat for the problem.  We know it is nowhere near blameless, but the task the Government faces of cleaning up our air will never be realised unless we look further than the car.


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