Canada notes for editors

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Previously on the Nelson (Canada) page:

Some facts

There are about 160,000 road accidents in Canada every year. According to the Transportation Safety Board approximately 2,800 to 2,900 people are killed on Canadian roads each year.

  • Estimates of road fatalities worldwide: anywhere from 500,000 to 1.17 million people die on the roads every year — 10 million are estimated to be injured.
  • Forecasts indicate that by 2030 this will have risen to 2 million deaths a year, and 50 million injuries.
  • The cumulative death total in the period 1995-2030 is estimated to be 50 million.
  • Globally, accidents produce about 800,000 permanently handicapped people per year.
  • In the U.S., the American Lung Association estimate that between 10,000 and 24,000 people die each year as a result of traffic related air pollution.
  • The work of epidemiologists and public health specialists in the U.S. and U.K. indicate that up to 60,000 Americans and 10,000 British are killed each year as a result of particulate pollution.

Exhaust fumes cause acid air, pollution, cancer, lead-poisoning and a variety of bronchial and respiratory illnesses. The average car emits a cocktail of more than 1,000 pollutants including:

  • Tetraethyl Lead
  • Benzene (No safe level of airborne benzene can be recommended, as benzene is carcinogenic to humans and there is no known safe threshold level)
  • Carbon Monoxide
  • Nitrogen Dioxide
  • Nitric Oxide and Nitrogen Dioxide: together play major role in formation of acid rain
  • Low Level Ozone
  • Sulfurous Emissions: cause soil and water acidification, damage to plants (especially trees, mosses and certain lichens), and smog.

The Institute for European Environmental Policy has published a report showing that car drivers breathe in up to three times more toxic exhaust fumes than pedestrians or cyclists. Cars do not protect drivers from pollution, as motorists are driving in a "tunnel of pollution." Car drivers in the centre or outside lanes are subject to a huge build-up of toxic gases. Cyclists and pedestrians who stay close to the curb avoid the worst of the pollution as they are not in the pollution tunnel.

The Swedish National Chemicals Inspectorate has reported that wear and tear on car tyres releases tiny airborne particles called PM10s, which may cause cancer. Car tyres are the main source of PM10 pollutants, which have also been linked to 10,000 premature deaths in Britain each year from lung and heart disease.

The environmental cost of one car

Extracting raw materials

  • 26.5 tonnes of waste
  • 922 cubic metres of polluted air

Transporting raw materials

  • 12 litres of crude oil in the ocean
  • 425 million cubic metres of polluted air

Producing the car

  • 1.5 tonnes of waste
  • 74 million cubic metres of polluted air

Driving the car

  • 18.4 kilos of abrasive waste
  • 1,016 million cubic metres of polluted air

Disposing of the car

  • 102 million cubic metres of polluted air

A car causes more pollution before it's ever driven than in its entire lifetime of driving.