Air Pollution Through to Motor Vehicle Emissions in Sydney

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Air pollution

Motor Vehicle Emissions


Niklas Bargstedt 10 W
Air Pollution - Motor Vehicle Emissions – Sydney

According to a government report which was commented on by the Daily Telegraph (Sydney) in March Sydney’s air pollution is nearly ten times worse than in any other city in Australia. Investigations conducted by the newspaper suggest that last summer’s air pollution figures were the worst for Sydney in recent years. It has been estimated that motor vehicle emissions alone cost Sydney around 1.2 billion $ per year due to health care costs caused by air pollutants.

The nature of the issue

Global warming is a big issue nowadays. This takes place due to air pollution. Motor vehicles produce gases that contribute to the so called greenhouse effect. Greenhouse gases occur naturally in the atmosphere trapping heat radiated from the earth’s surface – increases in the amount of these gases due to air pollution has great impact on the atmosphere and our environment due to a change in climate and rainfall. On top of that air pollutants have bad effects on human health. It should be our own interest to reduce motor vehicle emissions/ air pollution in order to live in a clean environment.

Air pollution is the amount of impurities in the air. If these pollutants are toxic they become a serious problem. They can have an unpleasant odour, reduce visibility and irritate the senses. In the worst case they can cause death. They are a hazard to human, plant or animal health. Especially elderly or weak people are affected.

The main sources of air pollution in Sydney are the burning of fossil fuel for transport (e.g. cars), power generation and industrial production.

When burning fuel cars and other motor vehicles produce toxic gases which pollute the environment. The main gases produced in the process are: carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons and carbon dioxide. The average passenger vehicle emits about four tonnes of carbon dioxide (the main greenhouse gas) each year. 2.3 kg of carbon dioxide is emitted into the atmosphere for every litre of petrol used.

Concerns from the main pollutants:

CARBON MONOXIDE: It combines with haemoglobin in the bloodstream and reduces oxygen delivery to organs and tissues.

It can inhibit mental alertness and concentration. Most serious threat is for people with cardiovascular disease.

NITROGEN DIOXIDE: comes from motor vehicles and industry such as power plants.

Short-term exposure can increase respiratory illness particularly for children as asthmatics.

OZONE: In the stratosphere this gas protects the earth from ultraviolet radiation.

At ground level it adversely affects various parts of the respiratory system.

SULPHUR DIOXIDE: The main sources are power plants, refineries and smelters. It irritates eyes, nose and throat.

LEAD: Before 2001, leaded petrol was the main source of emissions, other than industry such as smelting. It can accumulate in the body, affecting development of young children.

PARTICLES: Woodheaters, motor vehicles, controlled burns and some industry contribute. Larger particles can aggravate asthma.

Although the number of cars driving in Sydney is still increasing and people travel longer distances the pollution caused is decreasing. This is because of regulations for cars and industries concerning emissions. In addition to that newer cars with better emission standards replace older ones.

The impact of the issue

Immediate effects on humans
Sydney’s Bureau of Transport and Economics reveals that pollution caused by motor vehicles might be responsible for killing up to 2000 Australians every year and causing more than 2000 asthma attacks. The damage to health cost Sydney app $1.2 billion last year.

The Sydney Morning Herald states in an article that children are particularly vulnerable because they inhale more air for their body weight than adults, but the elderly and the sick are also at risk....
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