According to a declaration by the United Nation’s Environment Programme (UNEP), the last remaining stocks of leaded petrol have been used by completely last month – eliminating the high pollution causing fossil fuel. This was achieved after the UNEP campaigning for this for 19 years – calling on countries to end the use of what it calls a poisonous substance that proses major risks for human health and the environment.
UNEP aid the final stocks of leaded petrol that were in stocks in Algeria, the only country that was allowing use of leaded petrol into vehicles, were exhausted in July.
Fumes of the petrol can cause heart disease, stroke and cancer because it contaminates air, soil and drinking water, the agency said. It can also cause contaminates air, soil and drinking water, say some studies.
Ending the useof leaded petrol after a century marked a “huge milestone”, UNEP said, adding tha this feat was achieved by it working closely with governments, businesses and civic groups to end production and use of the fuel.
“Leaded fuel illustrates in a nutshell the kind of mistakes humanity has been making at every level of our societies,” Inger Anderson, UNEP executive director, told journalists.
She said there has been a loss of biodiversity and pollution while also driving climate change because of those mistakes. However, it is possible that “humanity can learn from and fix mistakes that we’ve made” as shown by the but the global response to lead in fuel.
The high toxicity of lead has been recognised since Roman times. Despite the knowledge, the metal was started to be added to gasoline in the early 1920s to make vehicles more powerful. It has been regularly been added to all petrol all throughout the globe till the 1970s with wealthier countries starting to phase it out.
But leaded gasoline was still being used by 86 countries as late as the early 2000s. The campaign devised by the UNEP was created to help those countries to move away from the fuel – including by helping in investments and relieving concerns about prices of fuel without lead, Anderson said.
However, a driver of climate-warming emissions till date is the transportation industry, the UNEP warned, and added that in the coming decades, more than 1.2 billion vehicles were expected to hit the road.
The power of collaborated efforts to achieve desired results is showcased by the elimination of leaded gasoline, said Antonio Guterres, UN Secretary General. A call for similar initiatives for development of similar initiatives to have emissions-free transport and addressing climate change was also given by him.
“We must now turn the same commitment to… create a world of peace that works with nature, not against it,” he said in a pre-recorded video
(Adapted from UNEP.org)