According to a London Assembly report, air pollution in the UK capital may have contributed to the deaths of some 3,000 people in the year 2005. Further, while not as important as the health of London's populace, the report estimates that these health-related issues cost £20 billion per year to treat. The main culprit for the city's poor air quality? Diesel engines. Says Darren Johnson, Chair of the London Assembly's Environment Committee:
London's air pollution is a serious problem now and for future generations. Reducing air pollution is not just about improving the environment in some abstract way. Our report shows that it's about saving lives.
Diesel engines are extremely popular in Europe, due in part to a set of regulations favoring the oil-burners low carbon emissions figures. While it's true that diesel engines are more efficient than their gas-swilling siblings, they aren't quite as squeaky clean when judged based on nitrogen oxide or particulate matter emissions, though new technology is improving these shortcomings every day.

In response to these findings, the Environment Committee is calling on mayor Boris Johnson to promote the use of biofuel for public transportation, set up low emission zones in selected areas and display real-time pollution levels in public electronic displays.

[Source: Autocar]

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