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Air pollution in Auckland causes health problems and costs the taxpayer $466 million annually in healthcare. (Prasad, 2019). The main reason for the bad air quality is vehicle exhaust emissions. As the population of Auckland grows and the number of cars rises, the problem of air pollution is getting worse which has a serious impact on human health. The purpose of this paper is to analyse the exhaust emission source from vehicle and discusses the effect on human health, and then put forward the corresponding treatment measures.
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The main pollution sources in Auckland is Vehicle exhaust emissions. It is produced by cars, buses, and motorcycles. The main pollutants emitted by automobiles contain a large amount of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, Nitrogen oxides, sulphides and particulates (consisting of heavy metal oxides such as dust, lead oxides and soot, etc.). These substances pose a great threat to human health. The following paragraph will show how these substances are produced and what effect they have on health.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless, odourless, poisonous gas emitted from the vehicle’s exhaust as a result of incomplete combustion. It interferes with the blood’s ability to carry oxygen to the brain, heart, and other tissues. Even when healthy people walk on the street, people can experience headaches and fatigue.
Ozone high up in the atmosphere can protect us from ultraviolet radiation. But ozone at ground level (where it is part of what is commonly called smog) is caused by engine under heavy load. Breathing ozone can trigger a variety of health problems, particularly for children, the elderly, and people of all ages who have lung diseases such as asthma.
Nitrogen oxide is produced primarily by the transportation sector. NO is rapidly converted to NO2 in sunlight. It is formed in high concentrations around roadways, and can result in development and exacerbations of asthma, bronchitis, as well as lead to a higher risk of heart disease.
Particulate matter (PM) is made up of small airborne particles like dust, soot, and drops of liquids. The majority of PM in urban areas is formed directly from burning of fossil fuels by automobiles. Fine particles (PM2.5,) penetrate deeper into the lungs and cause heart attacks, strokes, asthma, lung disease, and cancer. Studies show that higher PM2.5 exposure can impair brain development in children.
Dr. David Sinclair (cited in Prasad, 2019) said air pollution has long-term health effects, including respiratory sickness, heart attacks, lung disease, and diabetes.
The air quality is declining in Auckland which is leading to 300 premature deaths.
Therefore, it obviously needs to control air pollution from vehicle. Everyone should have the awareness of reducing the emission of vehicle exhaust. There are three possible solutions which can help New Zealand government control the air pollution from vehicle.
The government should require all sell control the quality of used cars and testing the emission of used imported cars before its arrival in Auckland.
The government should encourage Research and development of new non-polluting energy, for example, fuel cell vehicle or electric vehicles. The basic principle of an automotive fuel cell is an electrochemical process in which hydrogen and oxygen respond to deliver power and produce water, a by-product. Compared with modern internal combustion engines, fuel cells have high capacity conversion efficiency and can significantly improve efficiency, while Sulphur dioxide and Nitrogen oxides emissions are basically zero, and carbon monoxide emissions can be reduced by half. Electric vehicles can help to reduce harmful air pollution, and also cheaper to run.
The New Zealand Government has announced plans to begin adding electric vehicles In May 2016. New Zealand aims to reach about 64,000 electric vehicles on the streets toward to 2021. (Ministry of transport, 2019).
The most important way is improved the public transportation facilities. The northern bus way and the upgraded railways have accomplished outcomes exceeding expectations. If people go out to work or study on a bus. These would reduce the number of vehicles in the city, it also makes the city road traffic smooth.
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Auckland Council will focus on improving commuter railways, bus ways, light rail, sideways, and cycle paths. Auckland council’s committees plan to achieve a zero-emission bus fleet by 2040, (Prasad 2019) and investment in public transport to provide convenient services. People can consider substituting a trip by walking or by cycling; these can stop vehicle exhaust and do some physical exercise, it is not only good for health, it also can reduce vehicle exhaust emission.
As a modern means of transportation, Vehicle has brought great convenience to people’s production and life, but their exhaust emissions have caused serious pollution to the atmosphere and have impacted on human health. This paper has shown health problem that caused by vehicle emission. The government should concentrate on controlling emission testing, innovating new technology and other methods. Vehicle exhaust pollution is a worldwide problem and every country is looking for a solution. However, due to many factors (economic, energy, technology, etc.), there are still many programs that need to be practiced and promoted. Therefore, knowing about the issues can attract people’s attention and advocate people to protect our living environment.
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