The Sun, the moon and the stars would have disappeared long ago had…had they happened to be within the reach of predatory human hands.

 – Havelock Ellis,The dance of Life, 1923

If this statement could be made in the early 19th century, then we've been at destroying the environment for a long not knowing that it's at our own expense.

Human activities have contributed to the accelerated depletion of the ozone layer and the destruction of all other components of the environment.

In this article, I would attempt to espouse the resultant-effect of the emission of exhaust fumes by automobiles (cars) on our environment and human health at large.

A vehicle moving from a distance to the other involves the combustion of a fossil fuel, a process that emits gasses and affects the environment.


According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, more than half of the air pollution in their country is caused by mobile sources, primarily automobiles and further contribution to the pollution potential of cars is the fact that they are filled with numerous fluids, which can be harmful to the environment in  cases of leakage or improper disposal.

According to the World Health Organization, more than 80 per cent of people living in urban areas that monitor air pollution are exposed to air quality levels that exceed the World Health Organization (WHO)

The report said as urban air quality declined, the risk of stroke, heart disease, lung cancer, chronic and acute respiratory diseases, including asthma, increased for the people who lived in those places.

In Ghana, it is reported that, more than 17,000 people die annually as a result of exposure to air pollution, with children and women being the most affected victims, Mrs Gina McCarthy, a US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Administrator, had said while China's citizens will suffer over 2 million premature deaths annually due to pollution for decades to come, according to a recent report.

The study released by the Paris-based International Energy Agency (IEA) follows World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that air pollution causes at least 6.5 million premature deaths a year worldwide.

In 2014, the WHO put the death toll from air pollution for 2012 at 7 million, calling it "the world's largest single environmental health risk."

The new IEA estimate includes 3 million fatalities due to outdoor air pollution and 3.5 million more from poor indoor air quality, largely from cooking and heating with wood, coal and biomass fuels.

One-third of the deaths are occurring in China, including one million from outdoor pollutants and 1.2 million indoors, the IEA said in its 266-page study, which also profiled other countries and regions including India, Africa, and the United States.

Bad air has shortened the average life expectancy in China by over two years, it said.

The huge toll is continuing despite major environmental efforts and an anti-smog action plan announced by China's government in 2013.

In Iran, it is estimated that the smoke of around 4.2 million car exhausts hovers  over the city,causing the days of residents smoggy. Braving the endless roar of aging engines, residents stand all day inside a dense fog of cancer-causing toxins that blocked out the sun, stung their eyes and clogged their noses

Unlike many aspects of the international sanctions, the air pollution in one of the world’s smoggiest capitals does not discriminate among social classes. For more than six months out of the year, Tehran’s 8.3 million residents inhale a deadly mix of rubber particles, asbestos, sulfur dioxide, nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, and partially unburnt hydrocarbons.

According to city officials, some 270 people die each day from blood cancer, heart and respiratory diseases, and other pollution-related illnesses. The government, struggling to allay an environmental crises has urged young families to move out of large cities to protect their children from the adverse effects of the toxic air. According to one Tehran-based environmentalist, “Air pollution is reaching a point where it is noticeable as a social or political demand. If people were crying ‘where is my vote’ in 2009, their demand in 2014 will be, ‘where is my breathable air?”

Poor air quality has been a daily source of government criticism throughout the winter months, when pollution is typically at its peak. Among the world’s top ten most polluted cities, four are in Iran, according to data based on a 2013 World Health Organization index.  “right to live in unpolluted cities.”

The above examples I cited looks scary, right? Well ,this is but a few examples of  cities in the world that are battling air pollution.

 The main source of the smog is sub-standard gasoline, researchers have indicated.

 In Ghana, automobile use has doubled in the past 20 years according to transportation ministry estimates, and around five hundred thousand  of the cars on the road each day are more than 10 years old. Aside from restricting gasoline imports as a way of reducing exhaust emissions, Ghana's inability to equip domestically  cars with catalytic converters, a standard engine feature that reduces the emissions of harmful gases and the lack of the will of the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) and  the Motor Transport and Traffic Department (MTTD) of the Ghana Police Service to sanction owners of vehicles that emit exhaust fumes and non-road worthy vehicles is a contributory factor to the air pollution and low industry standard.

“Air pollution is a major cause of disease and death. It is good news that more cities are stepping up to monitor air quality, so when they take actions to improve it they have a benchmark,” said Dr Flavia Bustreo, WHO Assistant-Director General for Family, Women and Children’s Health.

“When dirty air blankets our cities the most vulnerable urban populations—the youngest, oldest and poorest—are the most impacted,” he said.

The report said ambient air pollution, made of high concentrations of small and fine particulate matter, was the greatest environmental risk to health—causing more than three million premature deaths worldwide every year.

“Urban air pollution continues to rise at an alarming rate, wreaking havoc on human health,” said Dr Maria Neira, WHO Director of the Department of Public Health, Environmental and Social Determinants of Health.

Most sources of urban outdoor air pollution are well beyond the control of individuals and demand action by cities, as well as national and international policymakers to promote cleaner transport, more efficient energy production and waste management.

It is based on these the backdrop of these dire foreseen consequences on humanity that an inclusive process of intergovernmental negotiations, and based on the Proposal of the Open Working Group on Sustainable Development Goals, which includes a chapeau contextualizing the latter, the SDG 13 was born in order to address this menace of air pollution which is resulting in climate change at large.

The Sustainable Development Goal 13 states that ,members of the United Nations (UN) shall take urgent action to combat climate change and its impacts.

This means that ,members of UN are obliged to integrate climate change measures into national policies,strategies and planning,improve awareness creation and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation,adaption,impact reduction and early  warning.

It is crucial for city and national governments to make urban air quality a health and development priority because ,when air quality improves, health costs from air pollution-related diseases shrink, worker productivity expands and life expectancy grows.

Reducing air pollution also brings an added climate bonus, which can become a part of a country’s commitment to the climate treaty.

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DISCLAIMER: The Views, Comments, Opinions, Contributions and Statements made by Readers and Contributors on this platform do not necessarily represent the views or policy of Multimedia Group Limited.