Health

Politicians Warned to Take Health Risk of Pollution More Seriously

Ella Kissi-Debrah was nine years old when she died. She had been in and out of the hospital for months because of seizures. Ella died after a severe asthma attack. In December 2020, after an inquest, the coroner ruled the young girl’s death was caused by air pollution. Hers was the first case of its kind in the UK.

Together with her mother Rosamund, Ella lived near South Circular Road, south London, a highly polluted area. She walked to school regularly and was exposed to toxic air. Her mother had been unaware of the dangers of air pollution and did not know that the area they lived in was highly polluted.

After Ella’s death, her mother became an active crusader for the fight against air pollution and the right of the public to know about toxic air and its dangers, along with the measures that the government is doing to achieve the UK’s zero emissions goal.

Focus on green measures

Rosamund recently made headlines after she called local candidates and asked them to step up their game in the fight against air pollution. She criticised politicians who dismissed environmental issues and green measures.

Those who are hoping to become the next prime minister have not mentioned anything about the environment nor have they talked about green policies and the goal to achieve zero emissions by 2050.

Actions intended to address the problem of climate emissions are designed to reduce air pollution. This is crucial because health costs linked to toxic air are estimated to be at £20 billion annually.

Rosamund wants politicians to acknowledge that they will take air pollution seriously. She also wants those who do not believe in climate-related issues to simply believe in air pollution and its effect on transport, the economy, education, the environment, and human health.

On the part of the Conservatives, Net Zero Support Group chair Tory MP Chris Skidmore has the same goal as Rosamund: to encourage a candidate to support and protect the net zero emissions drive, which is aimed at reducing greenhouse gases by 100% in 2050.

Ella’s Law

The Lord’s Private Member’s Bill introduced Ella’s Law, which values anyone’s right to clean air and creates a commission to look after the plans, actions, and progress of the government. Additionally, it is intended to join policies focused on air pollution, including actions addressing climate issues and emergencies.

What Are Diesel Emissions?

Ella died because of severe asthma caused by air pollution. Pollutants in the air come from various sources, including diesel engine emissions from road transport. These emissions are nitrogen oxides, also known as NOx, and they have a dangerous effect on the environment and on human health.

NOx has nitrogen dioxide (NO2) and nitric oxide (NO). NO can be relatively harmless but when it interacts with NO2 to form NOx, the story changes.

Nitrogen oxide is responsible for the formation of smog, acid rain, and ground-level ozone. It also affects vegetation, making plants and crops susceptible to frost, stunting their growth.

NOx has a major impact on human health. When a person is exposed to low levels of nitrogen oxide, they can experience the following effects:

  • Asthma
  • Aggravated asthma
  • Breathing problems
  • Corroded teeth
  • Headaches
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Other respiratory issues

Exposure to high levels of nitrogen oxide has the following impacts on human health:

  • Increased risk for certain cancers and cardiovascular disease
  • Chronically reduced lung function
  • Laryngospasm
  • Asphyxiation
  • Premature death

There has been some evidence as well that NOx can trigger mental health issues, particularly depression and anxiety.

In the UK and Europe, the biggest source of NOx emissions is diesel vehicles, specifically those that were (or are) involved in the 2015 Dieselgate diesel emissions scandal.

Dieselgate scandal

The Dieselgate emissions scandal initially involved only Volkswagen, but other car manufacturers were implicated later on, including another German carmaker, Mercedes-Benz.

It was in September 2015 when US authorities found illegal defeat devices in VW’s diesel vehicles sold in the American market. A defeat device is programmed to cheat emissions tests by detecting when a vehicle is in regulatory testing. Once it does, it artificially brings down emissions to levels that are within the limits set by the World Health Organization (WHO).

However, when the vehicle is brought out for real-world road driving conditions, it reverts to its original settings, which results in emission levels that are multiple times over the EU- and WHO-mandated limits.

Mercedes-Benz and all the other implicated car manufacturers or brands were found to have installed the same device. All these diesel vehicles are heavy pollutants – and this is why affected car owners are encouraged to file a diesel emissions claim.

Filing your claim

An emission claim is a legal procedure that allows you to receive compensation for what your car manufacturer has caused you when they installed a defeat device in your vehicle. All you have to do is talk to a panel of emissions solicitors and they’ll help you through the challenging and often time-consuming process.

Whether you’re filing a Mercedes emissions claim or any other car manufacturer claim, it is best to work with the panel of solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk. Their panel are professionally trained, highly experienced, and committed to helping car owners like you win their compensation. Check out their website to find out if you are eligible to claim.

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