The steady rise of electric vehicles will soon leave petrol and diesel cars in the dust. BMW is launching electric buses all over Europe, while the London Taxi Company is replacing old cabs. A few months later, the U.K. remains on top of the eco-ladder, with Oxford planning to eliminate non-electric vehicles.
The scheme aims to cut levels of nitrogen dioxide, the majority of which comes from traffic fumes, by three-quarters.
To give distributors leeway, Oxford will be imposing the ban in 2020, increasing the affected zone by 2035. We all know electric vehicles aren’t the most affordable, so locals may have to do some walking. The plan is projected to cost £7 million, but the city council deems the shift will be well worth it.
Oxford city councillor John Tanner said a “step change” is urgently needed as toxic air pollution is “damaging the health” of residents.
It’s a bold move, Oxford, but hopefully a successful one.
People are constantly on the hunt for ways to keep our air clean. Urban areas are choosing to build vertical gardens. On the other hand, marginalized communities are seeking more eco-conscious cooking alternatives. While every small step is leading us towards a more positive direction, researchers have yet to break ground. Perhaps they now have with recycled waste biochar, a material that tackles air pollution.
Biochar is ground charcoal produced from waste wood, manure or leaves. Added to soil, the porous carbon has been shown to boost crop yields, lessen the need for fertilizer and reduce pollutants by storing nitrogen that would otherwise be released to the atmosphere.
If properly incorporated into farming, researchers project a 67% drop in nitrous oxide emissions in the United States within the next year. This could mean cutting up to $660 million in annual healthcare costs for pollution-related illnesses.
“Agriculture rarely gets considered for air pollution control strategies. Our work shows that modest changes to farming practices can benefit the air and soil too.”
Based on extensive research, biochar seems like it’s worth a shot. After all, there’s nothing to lose except ozone.