Unfortunately, air pollution is a global problem. Toxic air is a decades-long issue in the United States just as it is in the UK. It is an environmental and health issue that affects all sectors of society. Of late, however, focus has been diverted to communities of colour and low-income neighbourhoods in urban areas throughout the US.
Compared to the mostly white and high-income neighbourhoods, minority and low-income neighbourhoods are located in areas with higher levels of nitrogen dioxide or NO2 pollution; at least 28% higher than those of other areas.
The toxic air in these neighbourhoods comes from the diesel trucks that pass through the major roadways in their area. Diesel vehicles emit air pollutants like NO2.
Researchers who conducted a study that tracked NO2 emissions in communities of colour and low-income neighbourhoods revealed that cities and towns with larger populations are more exposed to NO2 pollution.
Although commuter traffic also contributes to air pollution, trucks are the primary perpetrators, particularly the ones with diesel engines. Even if the number of trucks out on the road only constitutes about 5% of the total traffic, these diesel vehicles are the major contributors, with NO2 emissions that amount to almost half of the nitrogen dioxide levels of a city. Diesel trucks also release other particulates and dangerous gases.
A resident’s nightmare
Imelda Ulloa of Wilmington, Los Angeles has been residing in the same home for 25 years. Their house is in an area where a regular stream of trucks passes by every day. According to her, around 350 trucks pass through their neighbourhood daily, and that’s just for two hours.
The trucks that pass by Imelda’s home are headed to container yards and ports in nearby areas.
Nowadays, when Imelda is at home, she makes sure all doors and windows are tightly closed. It’s like living inside a prison.
Imelda lives with her husband, who has since developed asthma, and their son Omar, who’s afraid of losing his father because of air pollution.
Effects of toxic air
The toxic air that diesel trucks emit is NOx or nitrogen oxides. NOx is a combination of nitric oxide (NO) and nitrogen dioxide (NO2). Aside from causing acid rain, ground-level ozone, and smog. NOx is also associated with several notable health risks:
- Lung disease
- Aggravated asthma (for those who already have it)
- Increased risk of cancer
- Cardiovascular disease
- Premature levels of early deaths
Constant exposure to NOx can also trigger mental health issues, specifically depression and anxiety.
In the UK, the situation is moving in a similar direction. Just like the US, the country has its own share of air pollution woes, including the Dieselgate scandal that broke in 2015.
The Dieselgate emissions scandal is significant for the fight for better, cleaner air because it involved reputable car manufacturers using a cheat device to manipulate emissions testing.
First to be implicated in the scandal was Volkswagen, when the US allegedly discovered defeat devices in VW diesel vehicles sold in the country. Mercedes-Benz was the second manufacturer to be implicated in one of the biggest scams in the automobile industry. More car manufacturers were called out later on, and the scandal spread throughout Europe, including the UK.
The defeat devices suppress emissions levels during testing, keeping the numbers within the legal limit set by the World Health Organization. In real-world road conditions, though, the vehicles release higher levels of NOx emissions, way beyond the WHO and EU limits.
As such, the manufacturers misled their customers by making them believe that they were driving safe, environment-friendly vehicles. Scandals like this make the goal of zero emissions difficult to achieve, and residents like Imelda will feel betrayed. This is why car owners are encouraged to file an emission claim against their manufacturers.
The emissions claim process
After the Dieselgate scandal broke, thousands of car owners found themselves asking several questions:
- How do I know if I’m affected?
- Can I file a claim?
- How do I file my diesel claim?
Your first task is to verify if your vehicle is affected by the diesel emissions scandal. If you have a Mercedes-Benz, visit the manufacturer’s website and try to find the page dedicated to Mercedes emissions claims.
To make the process easier, find a panel of emissions solicitors who are regulated, highly trained, and experienced. They can help you with the process from the first to the last step.
The panel of solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk have brought forward Dieselgate compensation claims cases in the past, so your chances of winning are higher if you work with them. Visit their website and get in touch with them if you want to start helping out in the quest to improve air quality in the United Kingdom and the world.