World’s First Diesel Pollution Hospital Ward Appears in London


Air pollution caused by diesel vehicles is a significant health concern worldwide, especially in the United Kingdom. The harmful particles in diesel exhaust fumes can cause respiratory disorders, heart problems, and even cancer, and it is affecting more people every day. In response to this crisis, campaigners in Southbank, London, have launched the world’s first diesel pollution hospital ward, which aims to raise awareness of the seriousness of air pollution caused by diesel vehicles and the urgent need to reduce emissions in the city.

The campaign showcased 10 hospital beds, symbolising the 280 individuals out of over 2,800 who required hospitalisation for asthma in London during 2021/22. In partnership with the Clean Cities Campaign, Mums for Lungs spearheaded this effort to advocate for a complete phase-out of diesel vehicles in London by 2030. This collective of campaigners seeks commitments from all levels of government to address this pressing health issue.

The Immediate Health Risks of Diesel Air Pollutants

Air pollution caused by diesel exhaust particulates, such as nitrogen dioxide and soot, causes serious health issues. Nitrogen dioxide is responsible for the largest share of air pollution-related deaths, along with other pollutants that contribute to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and strokes. According to the United Kingdom Air Quality Index (AQI), air pollution is responsible for 40,000 premature deaths in the UK each year, with London ranking among the worst-affected areas. The situation is exacerbated by the numerous cases of asthma and bronchitis amongst children in the city caused by the inhalation of diesel pollutants.

Diesel Vehicles: The Culprits

In recent years, the number of diesel vehicles has significantly increased in London, substantially increasing the level of harmful pollutants in the city’s air. Diesel vehicles, especially those released before 2015, are notorious for their toxic emissions, including nitrous oxide (NOx) and particulate matter (PM).

Dieselgate refers to the controversy surrounding the use of special software, known as a defeat device, in Volkswagen’s diesel cars to manipulate emission tests. This scandal first came to light in 2015 when the EPA issued a notice of violation of the Clean Air Act to Volkswagen. The company admitted to installing illegal software in about 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide.

Dieselgate brought attention to the issue of diesel emissions, which had long been a concern due to their harmful effects on human health and the environment. Since then, several countries have introduced stricter emission standards and implemented policies to encourage the use of electric cars and other alternatives to diesel-powered vehicles.

Further investigations revealed that VW had installed cheating software on over 11 million of its diesel cars worldwide. The scandal led to the resignation of VW’s CEO and resulted in a loss of billions of dollars in fines and compensation. The company was also required to recall millions of diesel cars to fix their emissions systems.

The rise of diesel emission claims has also affected other car manufacturers. In 2017, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles (FCA) was accused of using illegal software to cheat emissions tests, and in 2019, Daimler was fined for installing defeat devices in its diesel cars. These cases highlight the need for tighter regulations and increased transparency in the automobile industry to prevent similar scandals in the future. If you are interested in filing a diesel claim, go to https://www.emissions.co.uk.

The primary cause of NOx is cars, which release a large amount of nitrogen oxide (NO) when burning fossil fuels. PMs are tiny particles in diesel emissions, so small that they can penetrate deep into our lungs. Unfortunately, while petrol vehicles emit similar toxins, diesel engines emit many times more, making them a significant cause of concern and the primary target of the London phasing-out policy.

Phasing Out Diesel Vehicles

The initiative taken by the campaigners has brought to the fore the crucial need for London to phase out diesel vehicles by 2030, which was first announced in the city’s Road to Zero Strategy in 2018. The phase-out is intended to provide an ambitious and effective response to the problem of air pollution, which is already causing devastating effects on public health and the environment. The plan includes several measures, including upgrading the bus fleet, promoting the use of electric vehicles, and supporting the development of cleaner forms of sustainable transport.

Bottom Line

The diesel pollution hospital ward is an innovative initiative highlighting the urgency of the problem of air pollution in London caused by diesel vehicle emissions. This project calls on the public to join the campaign against diesel emissions and support healthcare professionals’ efforts to reduce air pollution’s impact on public health. The harmful effects of this type of pollution demand significant action, and the call to action made by Mums for Lungs and the Clean Cities Campaign is a step in the right direction.

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