The Tailpipe Kills More Than the Steering Wheel

The exhaust pipe kills more than the steering wheel. Or what is the same: traffic pollution causes more deaths than traffic accidents. And it does not say Ecologists in Action, or Friends of the Earth, nor the rest of environmental organizations that appeal to our reason from their commitment to the environment, those that we ignore but to which we owe so much. No, science says it, and doctors say it.

I could turn this point into a perfect storm of incontestable scientific data, of percentages linked to articles of Nature, Science and the rest of scientific journals where they appear periodically. These papers that collect years of research and that our politicians go through the lining because it confronts them with realities that they do not want, do not know or can not face.

I could tell you that 36% of cancer cases, 34% of strokes and 27% of heart attacks are caused by the pollution generated by the transit of vehicles, a deadly agent to which the World Health Organization responsible they are referred to as “The Invisible Killer.”

I could tell you that doctors have established a direct relationship between traffic pollution and diseases that are spreading among the urban population, such as diabetes mellitus type 2, childhood asthma, Parkinson’s or Alzheimer’s, among others.

But I’m not going to tire you more with data that goes directly to reason. I prefer to appeal to their feelings from an emotional experience, which I had a few years ago when interviewing Dr. Ralph Atkins (Children’s Hospital of Greenville Health System).

That doctor told us dire things in front of the camera like urban pollution was not aggravating childhood asthma but a precursor, that is, healthy children were ill with asthma due to traffic. Very strong. But I was still more impressed by the comment that he made me out of micro.

In her hospital consultation, once the data from the clinical tests performed on the child were examined for the diagnosis, the doctor was able to guess which street the family lived in just for the results. The child’s airways indicated the level of contamination of his road.

There are no species in the entire animal kingdom that is capable of knowingly damaging the health of its offspring. That is to act against nature, against the first mandate that every living being receives at birth: to seek the survival of the species.

We do not; we are capable of poisoning the environment in which we live by condemning our puppies to illness for something as solemnly stupid as driving. We have become fools with a wheel.

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