Injustice is it?

Researches have described the “environmental injustice” facing commuters, who are exposed to up to eight times more pollution than car users.

Even though motorists produce the most pollution per commuter, they are the least exposed to harmful particulate matter (PM) as they are sealed off from the outside, a study by the University of Surrey found.

“We found that there is definitely an element of environmental injustice among those commuting in London, with those who create the most pollution having the least exposure to it,” Dr Prashant Kumar, who led the study, said.

Sigh.

Pedestrians too, people just living there. It’s not about public transport.

18 comments on “Injustice is it?

  1. Like Matt I have heard the opposite stated. There are enough externalities to driving without resorting to making them up.

    If there is a moral hazard in the externalities of driving then it is that drivers accrue the gains of unsafe driving while most of the risk is placed on others.

  2. How are people whizzing by on a train more exposed to fumes?

    This type of dreck appears to be being churned out on George Orwell’s 1984 novel-writing machines. They used to write mindless formula novels for proles who could read. Now they are writing mindless propaganda for the CM middle-class who hold thinking a bad habit.

  3. Is this an effort to turn ‘environmental’ into one of those general-purpose negatives, like ‘social’? Environmental injustice: not injustice, environmental science: not science. Any more?

    Or maybe the contagious word here is ‘justice’. One of those useful warnings that you’re about to be lied to and robbed.

  4. @Pat

    “Cars are sealed off? Can’t be or the driver and passengers would suffocate.”

    You’re right and you’re wrong. Cars are definitely not sealed, which is obvious to anyone who drives through some smelly place and can smell the outside pretty well. Turning off the ventilation and switching it to air recirculation slows this down, but does not stop it.

    But cars have plenty of air for the driver to go for several hours even if they were airtight.

  5. I usually have a guess a the source of your quotes before running the mouse over them. Its getting increasingly harder to see where the Telegraph ends and the Guardian starts.

  6. “The relatively new airtight trains with closed windows showed a significant difference to the levels of particles people are exposed to over time, suggesting that operators should consider this aspect during any upgrade of underground trains, along with the ways to improve ventilation in underground tunnels.”

    And which has been happening on the overground rail service for a decade or two. All nicely air conditioned. Isn’t that the case with modern buses too?

    Although none of that stops people sharing pollution.

  7. Bus users take twice as long to get to work as car drivers. Therefore their exposure to road pollution will also be double.

  8. ‘they are the least exposed to harmful particulate matter (PM)’

    No True Scotsman fallacy. It has not been established that PM is harmful.

  9. John Davis,

    > As the definition of pollution tends towards zero

    That’s called progress. Our definition of acceptable deaths in childbirth has collapsed to near-zero over the last century. Our definition of acceptable accidents in factories is approaching zero (unless those factories are abroad). In general we’re decreasingly tolerant of harmful things: that’s progress. Pollution being a harmful thing (see below), it’s quite logical that we become less tolerant of it.

    Gamecock,

    > It has not been established that PM is harmful

    There’s plenty of evidence that diesel fumes are carcinogenic – even the WHO says so, and they don’t have any particular conflict of interest (unlike the IPCC). There’s also a strong correlation between exposure to road traffic and the incidence of asthma. Whether the precise problem is PM, NOx, or another component of the fumes, is less certain.

    That’s not the end of the story though: you still have to run it through a cost/benefit analysis. Is the benefit of cleaner air worth the cost of more expensive transport? Are there cheaper ways of achieving a similar benefit (e.g. getting rid of trendy wood-burning stoves)? Is the problem likely to fix itself without any further regulation?

  10. “There’s plenty of evidence that diesel fumes are carcinogenic – even the WHO says so, and they don’t have any particular conflict of interest (unlike the IPCC). There’s also a strong correlation between exposure to road traffic and the incidence of asthma. Whether the precise problem is PM, NOx, or another component of the fumes, is less certain.”

    That’s bullshit, Andrew. Steve Milloy is all over this crap at junkscience.com.

  11. It doesn’t really matter, because nobody takes the tube thinking they will be exposed to less pollution than driving. People who take the tube generally do so because it is more convenient than driving or they can’t drive.

    If anyone is really concerned about pollution then the only solution is to get out of London.

  12. No, that’s bullshit, Gamecock. You’ve provided one link to a self-aggrandising blogger (with a book to promote) who nitpicked about the wording of one study on PM in China.

  13. I am sceptical about the number of early deaths supposedly caused by air pollution. See Steve Milloy’s book Scare Pollution on the junk science of the US EPA.

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