What If Lingering Vehicle Emissions Were Visible to the Human Eye?

It’s a well-known fact the emissions from cars are harmful, but we sometimes forget just how harmful, and just how much we are surrounded by these fumes. We have all been walking down a busy high-street and been overcome by the smell of exhaust fumes from cars passing by – whilst the air may look clear, the smell of fumes can become overwhelming.

What you may not realize is once the initial white smoke comes out of a car exhaust and dissipates, harmful chemicals remain in the air, but invisible to the human eye.

It makes you wonder how differently we would feel if the chemicals emitted from car exhausts were visible in the air around us.

If we could see the emissions around us, might we become more climate conscious? More willing to switch to green vehicles? More interested in finding and using eco-friendly forms of transportation?

To test this theory, Select Car Leasing created images of 10 of the most iconic cities in the world to show what their busy streets would look like if we could actually see the hazardous chemicals produced by vehicle exhausts once the initial plume of smoke has dissipated.  

Before seeing these visuals, it’s important to know how the volume of pollution in the air in these cities is gauged. The Air Quality Index (AQI) is currently the best indicator of how vehicle emissions are responsible for polluting our cities.

There are 6 different levels when it comes to rating air quality. Each of these levels has its own grade of health implications. The index also uses five criteria to gauge this: Particulate Matter (PM10 & PM2.5), Sulfur Dioxide (S02), Carbon Monoxide (CO), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Ozone (OZ).

Iconic Cities with Visible Air Pollution

Imagine, if you will, what one of your favorite, big cities might look like if you could see the vehicle emissions lingering in the air. In all honesty, it’s likely worse than you thought. Take a look at these visuals of 10 of the most iconic cities on the planet where we show what they would look like if you could actually see the hazardous chemicals produced by vehicle exhausts once the initial plume of smoke dissipated.

London – Air Quality Index Rating – 25

New York – Air Quality Index Rating – 30

Seoul, South Korea – Air Quality Index Rating – 48

Singapore, Singapore– Air Quality Index Rating – 56

Tokyo, Japan– Air Quality Index Rating – 56

Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia – Air Quality Index Rating – 64

Paris, France – Air Quality Index Rating – 80

Dubai, UAE – Air Quality Index Rating – 83

Bangkok, Thailand – Air Quality Index Rating – 92

Istanbul, Turkey – Air Quality Index Rating – 161

Delhi, India – Air Quality Index Rating – 223

How do you feel knowing that the streets you walk down is filled with this level of pollution every day?

Out of Sight – Out Of Mind? Why We Can’t Just Ignore This.

Car exhaust fumes are responsible for more deaths than traffic accidents in the UK and US, according to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

Although the risk of exposure to vehicle exhausts may not always be the first thing that comes to mind compared to other preventable causes of death, such as consumption of alcohol or tobacco, the statistics show the number of deaths are similar.

Pollution from overall UK combustion emissions, which includes powerplants and other forms of industry, accounts for 13,000 deaths per year.

In the US, it is estimated 53,000 deaths per year are caused by emissions from vehicles. This is around 16,000 more than traffic accidents.

What Is The Solution?

Several cities are beginning to make significant strides to combat their rising emissions. These include:

  • Restoration of Green Areas
  • Supporting Smarter Public Transport
  • Promoting Green Initiatives
  • Embracing Renewable Energy Sources

Individuals can also make changes not only in their choice of vehicle (like opting for hybrids or EVs), but in their frequency of using more eco-friendly mass transit options, carpooling, telecommuting and more.

Emissions are an issue impacting us all. Therefore, it is up to us to make changes in our day-to-day lives and overall activities that can help reduce harmful emissions and improve the quality of the air we breathe.

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