Use of polluting and toxic leaded petrol eradicated world-wide
Share article:
Share article:

Use of polluting and toxic leaded petrol eradicated world-wide

Illustration image of man refuelling car. Credit: Belga

The use of the highly polluting and toxic leaded petrol has now been eradicated globally, which will help prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths worldwide.

For almost a century, the fuel has contaminated air, dust, soil, drinking water and food crops and has caused heart disease, stroke and cancer, according to the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP).

“The successful enforcement of the ban on leaded petrol is a huge milestone for global health and our environment,” Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP, said in a press release on Monday.

“Overcoming a century of deaths and illnesses that affected hundreds of millions and degraded the environment worldwide, we are invigorated to change humanity’s trajectory for the better through an accelerated transition to clean vehicles and electric mobility,” she added.

Related News

 

Algeria, the last country in the world to use the fuel, ran out of its stock last month, resulting in the official end of the use of leaded petrol, for which the UNEP-led global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV) campaigned for almost two decades.

The use of tetraethyllead as a petrol additive to improve engine performance was introduced in 1922, and by the 1970s, almost all petrol produced around the world contained lead.

Although most high-income countries prohibited the use of this particular fuel by the 1980s, almost all low- and middle-income countries were still using leaded petrol in 2002, when the UNEP’s campaign against the compound started.

At this point, it was considered one of the most serious environmental threats to human health.

According to UNEP, its eradication will “increase IQ points among children, save $2.45 trillion (€2.07 trillion) for the global economy, and decrease crime rates.”

More work to be done

Despite reaching this goal, more has to be done to minimise the threat of local air, water and soil pollution by the transport sector, UNEP warned.

“That a UN-backed alliance of governments, businesses and civil society was able to successfully rid the world of this toxic fuel is testament to the power of multilateralism to move the world towards sustainability and a cleaner, greener future,” said Andersen.

She urged these same stakeholders to take inspiration and to ensure “that we have cleaner fuels, we also adopt cleaner vehicles standards globally – the combination of cleaner fuels and vehicles can reduce emissions by more than 80%.”

Although many countries have already started transitioning to electric cars, an additional 1.2 billion new vehicles will be introduced, and most of them, especially in developing countries, “contributing to global warming and air-polluting traffic.”

UN Secretary-General António Guterres repeated his appeal to shift away from fossil fuels, such as coal, to renewable sources, and to reform the energy, food, transport and financial sectors to work with nature, not against it.

“To succeed, we need international cooperation. Compromise. Solidarity. Let’s focus all our efforts on making peace with nature. And let’s build a cleaner, greener future for all,” he said.

Latest news

Anti-vaxxers demonstrate against Covid Safe Ticket in Brussels
Hundreds of supporters of the anti-vaxx movement gathered on Saturday outside the headquarters of the Pfizer pharmaceutical company to protest ...
Belgium’s investment funds total 260 billion euros in assets
Belgium’s funds industry grew by 5.3% (13 billion euros) in the second quarter of this year, bringing investment funds available to the public to ...
Brussels to Luxembourg by train in two hours soon possible
The fastest train ride between Brussels and Luxembourg currently takes almost three hours, but that could be slashed to about two hours thanks to the ...
Daily Covid infections up by almost 30% in Belgium
Between 6 and 12 October, an average of 2,438 people were infected with the Covid-19 virus every day, according to figures from the Sciensano public ...
Over 80,000 companies in Belgium non-compliant with anti-money laundering meassures
Over 80,000 companies and non-profits in Belgium are still not compliant with the Ultimate Business Owner (UBO) register, which is required of them ...
Increase in tax exemption for donations in Belgium fails to meet expectations
The increase from 45% to 60% in the tax exemption for donations, decided by the former federal government in June 2020, has cost Belgium more than ...
Sex workers in Belgium to get more social rights protection
The social rights of sex workers will soon be better protected in Belgium, Belga News Agency reports. The Council of Ministers has approved a draft ...
Belgian firms sent almost 266 billion euros to tax havens last year
Hundreds of Belgian firms sent close to 266 billion euros to tax havens last year, De Tijd reported on Saturday. Any Belgian individual or firm ...
Belgian investigator wins prestigious US prize
Olivier Hardy, an investigator with the federal police’s anti-terrorist unit in Brussels, DR3, received on Friday a "Top Cop" prize in Washington for ...
Pegasus Project: European Parliament awards journalism prize to investigation of use of spyware
The Daphne Caruana Prize for Journalism was awarded on Thursday to the journalists from the Pegasus Project coordinated by the Forbidden Stories ...
Belgians can now test their knowledge of driving rules and win prizes
The Walloon Road Safety Agency (AWSR) launched on Friday a quiz to allow the general public to test their knowledge of the highway code. Last year, ...
600 extras wanted for film about Belgian ‘Porn King’ and notorious Antwerp nightclub
A Belgian movie telling the story of a notorious Antwerp nightclub with connections to a Belgian 'Porn King' is looking for 600 extras at the end of ...