We humans must get rid of NOx (Part I)

Actually, we have this topic being discussed here and there: is climate change or global warming for real? We don´t want —for now— to polemize on this matter; there are skeptical against it and tough defenders as well. This post is about a topic that is known widely; we are talking about nitrogen oxide and how harmful it could be for human health. Through this topic, we will analyze different health problems that are inflicted when humans are constantly in presence of NOx (Nitrogen Oxides) produced by trucks and cars specifically when diesel is used as fuel for them.


In modern life, living in our every day more complex cities, or among heavy traffic highways and roads, thousands of tons of NOx are emitted into the environment yearly. According to “The Guardian“, 97% percent of all modern diesel cars emit more toxic nitrogen oxide pollution on the road than the official limit, with a quarter producing at least six times more than the limit.


Although according to the National Emissions Inventory (NEI) data, estimated nationwide anthropogenic (human created)  emissions of NOx decreased by 44 percent between 1990 and 2011 (from 25.2 million tons to 14.1 million tons). This downward trend results primarily from emissions reductions at electric utilities and among on-road mobile sources. Yes, the improvement is amazing but not enough yet.


Diesel car poluting the air with nitrogen oxide
Diesel cars related to early deaths by nitrogen oxide emissons


Let’s say that if in 2011 we were producing 14.1 tons of NOx yearly, and due to more regulations and better motor efficiency, newer fleets, and other factors, our current NOx emission goes in terms of 10 to 7 tons annually (this is our estimate given a continuously bold decrease in emissions); the problem is still there, and you will say, “what’s up with that?”


First of all, releasing 1 kg of NOx (Nitrous oxide – N2O) into the atmosphere is about equivalent to releasing 298 kg of  CO2, that means that it is almost 300 to 1 ratio; and considering the population density in inner cities, and the NOx emissions in those  urban areas, knowing that a great percentage of this emissions are made by diesel cars; well we have pretty much a health problem. “…The excess emissions of harmful nitrogen oxide (NOx) exhaust gases can be linked to 38,000 premature deaths worldwide, according to the new research. This is in addition to the World Health Organisation’s estimate of 3.7 million deaths caused by outdoor air pollution.


The US scientists argue that there is too little awareness of the impact of “real world” vehicle air pollution…” And this exactly what we are trying to point where.


In a further post linked very closely to this one, we will be specifically talking about the NOx effects on humans and death related to this issue (to be continued…)

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