COVID-19 has infected and killed over 500 people in Australia and impacted thousands more. Dr Graeme McLeay and A/Prof Vicki Kotsirilos AM state that there is, however, another silent and largely ignored health hazard, and that is air pollution. Approximately 3,000 premature deaths occur each year as a result of air pollution. About half of these deaths come from transport pollution, with cars contributing the bulk of that. With Australia’s air quality standards currently under review, we have an opportunity to introduce laws that will substantially improve the air we breathe.
Electric vehicles can reduce air pollution. They can also reduce pollutants, such as ozone, a greenhouse gas which traps heat in the atmosphere, that contribute to climate change.
However, more cars are not the solution.
If we are to reduce pollution and greenhouse gases, we will need investment in affordable, reliable public transport that runs with electric buses and trains, and provide safe pedestrian and cycle pathways for active transport.
Dr Graeme McLeay and Associate Professor Vicki Kotsirilos AM are members of Doctors for the Environment Australia
Read the full article, which was originally published in The Driven on 2 September 2020
Air quality standards submission
Joint expert position statement