A quick assessment of all of my prior blogposts reveals 31 out of 64 deal with air quality or air pollution issues as it relates to transportation. That’s nearly half.
If you’re wondering why such a high concentration, what I can tell you is the majority of the world’s air pollution is transportation sourced.
As it relates, the San Joaquin Valley Air Pollution Control District (SJVAPCD) on its Web site reveals 57 percent of the Valley’s air pollution comes from motor vehicles.
On its Web site the SJVAPCD notes, “The Valley is particularly vulnerable to air pollution formation because of its topography, climate, and growing population. Surrounding mountains trap airborne pollutants near the Valley floor where people live and breathe. In addition, the Valley’s hot, summer temperatures promote the formation of harmful ground-level ozone (also known as smog). Finally, as population levels increase, so does air pollution. More people equals more cars and more activities that contribute to poor air quality.”
Meanwhile, the European Environment Agency (EEA), in its report: “The contribution of transport to air quality – TERM 2012: transport indicators tracking progress towards environmental targets in Europe,” on page 34 is a breakdown per pollutant category. Six pollutants – Nitrogen Oxides (NOx), Non-Methane Volatile Organic Compounds (NMVOC), Sulfur Oxides (SOx), Primary Particulate Matter 2.5 microns or less in diameter (Primary PM 2.5), Carbon Monoxide (CO) and Particulate Matter 10 microns or less in diameter (PM 10) – are identified. Pollutant percentages are then shown for subsector modes, these being: aviation (domestic and international), maritime (domestic and international), and railway and road, transport.1
According to EEA data, the breakdown for the six pollutants as it pertains to transportation is as follows:
- NOx – 58%
- NMVOC – 18%
- SOx – 21%
- PM 2.5 – 27%
- CO – 30%
- PM 10 – 22%
Because the transport sector is responsible for producing the lion’s share of the world’s air pollution, in terms of mitigating such, I hold firm and fast the belief that the clean-up spotlight should be shined on transportation first and foremost. That approach seems to me the most sensible.
- “The contribution of transport to air quality – TERM (Transport and Environment Reporting Mechanism) 2012: transport indicators tracking progress towards environmental targets in Europe,” EEA (European Environment Agency) Report, No. 10/2012, p. 34, http://www.eea.europa.eu/data-and-maps/figures/the-contribution-of-the-transport-1.
– Alan Kandel