Tiago Zegur
This is not a new thing at all; this is 
actually much older than you and 
me. The term Eco-Mobility may 
be new, but the principle stems 
from the beginning of human history.
Eco-Mobility is basically any  
environmental friendly way of transport. 
Most of the people on the globe 
could be eco-transported but for 
several reasons they are not doing it. 
This type of mobility is not only healthier 
for people who adapt to it, but it is 
also environmentally friendly, as it reduces 
the emission of volatile organic 
compounds, oxides of nitrogen, benzene, 
formaldehyde, polycyclic hydrocarbons, lead, 
sulphur dioxide, particulate matter and carbon 
monoxide into the environment. 

Why is air pollution a problem?

Air pollution may have effects on the development of the human fetus

Ever since the industrial revolution, we have been polluting the air relentlessly and without any shame and everything has been fine one might argue. However, car exhausts can lead to serious health risks. Once exhaust emissions are released into the air, they are breathed in and reach our bloodstream which flows through all of our major organs. According to BBC News, there are 24,000 premature deaths in the UK due every year to vehicle emissions of which many people suffer from respiratory problems. Air pollution also has serious effects on the hearth. It is estimated that one in every 50 heart attacks in London is caused by air pollution. Furthermore, lead can cause changes in behavior, harm mental function, lead to memory problems, inhibit important enzymes, interfere with our cell metabolism and thus slow down the circulation of oxygen and essential nutrients in our body. Benzene leads to a reduced number of blood cells and might even cause bone marrow loss.  Carbon monoxide also has serious effects on our body’s ability to transport oxygen and provide the tissues of our body with it. Due to the exposure to toxic chemicals, the immune system might start to attack the body’s own tissues which can cause the blockage of blood vessels and increase the risk of high blood pressure and coronary diseases. And last but not least, it has been proven that being exposed to Benzene for long periods of time can cause leukaemia. Through experiments on animals, it could be shown that polycyclic hydrocarbons can cause cancer. It has also been found that air pollution can have serious effects on the human fetus. Evidence has been presented that environmental toxins can cause premature births. Babies may also be born underweight or with birth defects. In these cases, the risk of death is much higher during infancy and those who survive are more likely to develop brain, respiratory and digestive problems in the future. 

So what can we do?
  • Drive less: This might sound like an impossible thing to do but if you are dependent on your car for going to work, you might think about taking your bike to the grocery store if you only need to pick up a couple of things. It was shown that at least 30% of vehicle use is optional, meaning that we choose to go by car because it is more comfortable and convenient not because we have to. Walking, cycling or public transport are by all means preferable in these cases.  
 Cars are not economic at all !
According to Manfred Breithaupt, director of the Sustainable Urban Transport Project, a nongovernmental organization in Germany, cars are not very good for transporting people. A common street of any city with a width of 3.5 meters supports up to two thousand people in cars per hour. On the same route and over the same period, 14 000 cyclists and 19 000 pedestrians can move. A fast train in the same space could carry 22,000 people and two lanes for bus rapid transit would carry 43,000 passengers.
  • Use public transport: Public transportation means and the ability to ride a bike or walk need to be optimized in cities. Using public transport means saving money, as you only have to pay the ticket but you won’t have to pay car insurance, gas, inspections etc. It can even save time in some cases, as you can skip the annoying part of hunting for a parking lot. It gives you more time to read and relax as well, while driving a car does not really give you this option. Using public transport means less stress, more time and more life quality. Many cities today provide commuter trains. This means you can drive your car to the trains station, park your car and take the train into the city. Another great invention are taxi bikes. They were introduced in London in 2002 as an environmentally friendly means of transport. They have a futuristic design and have become very popular with tourists and residents.
  • Create car free zones: Cities should establish car-free zones where walking and cycling is permitted. This would not only reduce noise pollution but also reduce the health risks due to exposure to toxins in big cities. Care free cities would be an even better innovation and increase the life quality in cities. Venice was unintentionally designed as a car-free city as it was founded over 1,500 years ago. People must park their car outside of the city and go by foot or take the train into the city. This shows us that it does work, we just need to find a way to implement it. Car free cities would be amazing. Apart from the abovementioned advantages, the beauty of the city could be perceived from a totally different perspective and the risk of car accidents with pedestrians could be reduced.
  • Innovative environmentally friendly cars: In extreme cases where one lives away from everything and everybody and no public transport is available in the area, the solution is eco-friendly cars. Small hybrid cars, electric cars and solar vehicles generate much less to no pollution than cars powered by conventional fuels.  The greenest option is the solar-powered car.  Solar vehicles are powered through photovoltaic cells which convert the sun’s energy into electric energy. Emissions amount to zero apart from the consumption of energy used in the process of manufacturing the solar cells. Electric cars are powered by an electric motor or another energy storage device. In fact, electric cars already existed in the late 19th and early 20th century. However, as gasoline vehicles became cheaper, the use of electric vehicles was neglected. The use of electric vehicles has several benefits. As no harmful tailpipe pollutants are emitted, air pollution can be drastically reduced. However, depending on the technology of electricity generation, charging the batteries might involve the burning of fossil fuels. Hybrid cars combine an internal combustion engine and one or more electric motors. This means that emissions are merely reduced, as hybrid cars use less petroleum than conventional cars. Of course, the ones using renewable energy are the best, but if one can`t get the most environmentally friendly vehicle in the world, reducing gas emissions by means of a hybrid or electric car is already helpful.
  • Start car-sharing: Sometimes co-workers live close by and they might agree to start a car pool. One car on the read instead of two is already a major advantage and you can get to work comfortably and only have to drive one in two times or even less, depending on how many people share the car.
  • Walk, cycle, skate: We can cooperate with the preservation of our planet by riding bicycles more often, walking more and skating or skateboarding. At the end it will provide a healthier environment for us to live in and a healthier lifestyle. So many people would be able to do that but they just don`t.
  • Change of thinking: We are building cities for cars, not for people. Some places don`t even have sidewalks. A change of thinking needs to occur and the protection of the environment must represent a top-priority and come before comfort, profit or amusement.
If we still haven’t convinced you that eco-mobility is awesome, think about it this way:
If you are eco-mobile, you can reduce your car’s mileage resulting in cheaper car insurance. Doesn’t saving money sound great?
The thing is that going by car is considered to be more comfortable than by bus or subway. And nowadays, comfort means everything to us. These ways of thinking need to be recycled. If you think it over, there is no reason not to be eco-mobile. The Earth will thank you.