Even if every car on the road was electric, it wouldn’t solve the problem of urban air pollution – because exhausts aren’t the only source of vehicular emissions. According to a new government report, over half of the air pollution attributed to road transport comes from brakes and tires. Each time a car is driven, its brakes throw up tiny particles of iron and its tires shed fragments of plastic; other particles come off the road surface. These enter the airstream, where they pose a threat to human health; the micro-plastics from tires can also enter waterways via the sewers. (According to a study commissioned by Friends of the Earth last year, tires are the biggest single source of micro-plastic pollution in lakes, rivers, and oceans.)
Now, the Government’s Air Quality Expert Group has warned that at this rate, non-exhaust emissions could account for 10% of all PM2.5 matter by 2030. It says more needs to be done to get people out of cars, and to encourage drivers to lower their speeds, and reduce their braking. (The Week 20 July 2019)
Today I am visiting my GP. To walk to his office would take an hour and a half both ways. So I will go have to go by car. But for anything local my wife and I walk everywhere. The downside of this is that in America the car is King. Local governments don’t care a whit about pedestrians.
Our local government is currently proposing to allow up to 10,000 scooters on the road, (which often means the sidewalk, where they are allowed in the suburbs) and dumped after use. Meanwhile, there is one crossing near our house with a clear HALT! sign, ignored by an estimated 6 out of 10 car drivers, who barrel through. But I will re-visit the issue of dangerous driving and pedestrian deaths tomorrow.