The mayors of Paris, Mexico City, Madrid and Athens declared after the biennial of municipal leaders (Mexico), that they have decided to apply this prohibition to improve the air quality of their cities and solve part of the problem of environmental pollution.
As complementary measures, they reported that each government will give incentives to promote the use of alternative vehicles, in addition to carrying out campaigns aimed at promoting healthier activities such as walking, running or cycling among its inhabitants.
The use of the diesel engine in transportation has come under increasing scrutiny in recent years, as concerns about its impact on air quality have grown. The World Health Organization (WHO) says that around three million deaths each year are linked to air pollution.
This type of engines participate in pollution in two ways: through the production of particles (PM) and nitrogen oxides (NOx). PM from very fine soot can penetrate the lungs and contribute to cardiovascular disease and death.
Nitrogen oxides contribute to the formation of ozone at ground level and this can exacerbate pre-existing breathing difficulties, but is even harmful for people without a history of these types of problems.
Now the mayors of a number of major cities with well-known air quality problems have decided to use their authority to restrict the use of diesel, a move widely applauded by environmentalists demanding that something be done now.
ClientEarth lawyer Alan Andrews said: "In the UK, the Mayor of London is considering bolder action than his predecessor, proposing an expansion to the planned ultra-low emission zone, which is welcome, but we want the measures to be taken faster ”.
The diesel ban is very important. Automakers will have to abide by this decision and take appropriate precautions, as this is only the beginning and other cities are expected to follow shortly.
Change in companies
The history of vehicles shows that, in a global market, when manufacturers do not adhere to environmental improvements they end up failing. And although there are already many companies that choose to produce electric, hydrogen and hybrid cars, in the face of these measures the trend will surely intensify.
You also have to see the ironic side of this and that is that when measures were taken to combat CO2 emissions, which were detrimental to Climate Change because they are a greenhouse gas, the use of this type of vehicle was promoted.
Apparently the manufacturers would have given inaccurate figures on which governments relied to promote the use of diesel, so now it is opting to remove them from circulation and promote the use of increasingly cleaner technologies.
A productive meeting
At the meeting of urban leaders in Mexico, the four mayors declared that they were going to ban all diesel vehicles by 2025 and pledged to do everything possible to incentivize the use of electric, hydrogen and hybrid vehicles.
"It is no secret that in Mexico City we face daily the problems that air pollution brings us, generally due to traffic," said the city's mayor, Miguel Ángel Mancera.
He added that: "By expanding alternative transportation options such as the Bus Rapid Transport and subway systems, while investing in cycling infrastructure, we are working to ease congestion on our roads and lungs."
Paris has been taking a series of measures to reduce the impact of diesel cars and trucks. Vehicles registered before 1997 have already been banned from the city and these restrictions will increase each year, until 2025.
Furthermore, once a month, the Champs-Elysées are closed to traffic, while very recently a 3 km section on the right bank of the Seine River, which was once a two-lane motorway, has been made pedestrianized.
"Our city is implementing a bold plan, by which we are going to progressively ban the most polluting vehicles, helping the citizens of Paris with concrete accompanying measures," said Anne Hidalgo, mayor of the city.
Many of the measures proposed to reduce air pollution have a decisive benefit in curbing the emissions that exacerbate global warming; the measure of not circulating diesel vehicles is already applied in Japan.
"The quality of the air we breathe in our cities is directly linked to the fight against Climate Change," said the mayor of Madrid, Manuela Carmena. Specifying that "By reducing greenhouse gas emissions generated in our cities, our air will become cleaner and our children, grandparents and neighbors will enjoy better health."