Millions of ‘Old and Unsafe’ Cars Sent to Developing World Fuelling Air Pollution
Millions of used motor vehicles exported from the US, Europe and Japan to developing countries are of poor quality and are contributing significantly to air pollution, according a new UN report. About 80% of the 14m used light-duty vehicles – saloon cars, SUVs and minibuses – exported between 2015 and 2018 went to low and middle-income countries. About 40% went to Africa, found the report, published by the UN Environment Programme (Unep). The EU is the largest exporter of used vehicles, sending 7.5m, mostly to north and west Africa. But the age and poor quality of the vehicles is hindering efforts to mitigate the climate crisis, said the report. Vehicles are a huge contributor to air pollution and climate breakdown. Globally, the transport sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. Specifically, vehicle emissions are a significant source of the fine particulate matter (PM2.5) and nitrogen oxides (NOx) that are leading causes of urban air pollution. The report found that two-thirds of the 146 countries studied had “weak” or “very weak” policies to regulate the import of used vehicles. Currently, there are no regional or global agreements on trade in used vehicles. A total of 100 countries had no vehicle emissions standards. As well as air pollution, the report said used vehicles are more likely to cause fatal accidents or serious injuries due to mechanical and safety defects. Africa has the highest road fatality rates, recording more than 240,000 deaths annually. Credit: WORLD ECONOMIC FORUM
Poverty deprives people of adequate education, health care and of life's most basic necessities- safe living conditions (including clean air and clean drinking water) and an adequate food supply. The developed (industrialized) countries today account for roughly 20 percent of the world's population but control about 80 percent of the world's wealth.
Poverty and pollution seem to operate in a vicious cycle that, so far, has been hard to break. Even in the developed nations, the gap between the rich and the poor is evident in their respective social and environmental conditions.