We all take transportation for granted whether it’s driving our car to work; flying to a favourite holiday destination; or waiting for that new television to be delivered from the other side of the world by cargo ship.
While transportation offers us many benefits, these come at a price. Truck Locator, who have a great range of MAN trucks for sale on their website, has compiled just a few of the statistics which show the substantial impact transportation has on a global scale.
Climate change is high on the agenda of many governments and scientists as it is becoming ever clearer that our planet is warming. This has led to more extremes of weather including fiercer storms and larger areas of drought. A clear sign of global warming is the gradual disappearance of the polar ice caps, which according to NASA are melting at a rate of 9% per year. In 2002 a huge part of the Larsen B ice shelf, which forms part of Antarctica, collapsed. This means that since the mid-1990s the area has lost over 40% of its mass.
Transportation, undoubtedly, is making a contribution to the greenhouse gases which are causing global warming. Gases such as methane, carbon and nitrous oxide build up and prevent heat from escaping the atmosphere and thus we see an increase in the temperature of the planet. 13% of global carbon dioxide comes from cars, trucks, aeroplanes and shipping and in the last two decades emissions from transportation has increased by 45%.
Transportation contributes to air pollution and with millions of deaths and hundreds of healthy years lost to its devastating effects, air quality is something which needs to be addressed. Governments around the world have made in-roads by introducing legislation to reduce vehicle emissions. However, the recent emissions scandal demonstrates that we may not have made as much progress forward as we had hoped.
Transportation also has a cost in terms of human life. There are over 1.2 million road deaths globally every year and it’s not just drivers who are involved. 27% of fatalities are pedestrians and 5% are cyclists. While safety improvements are constantly being implemented, for both vehicle and other road users, it is not possible to protect people entirely, especially when human error is incorporated. A new evolution of car, driven by computer, is on its way and maybe these will go some way towards improving safety. It will certainly eradicate those mistakes made by drivers such as speeding; driving too close to the vehicle in front; or being distracted by a call or texting.
Is there a Solution?
None of us wants to revert to a world where travel is limited or only available to the select few. Therefore we all need to play our own part in making transport more eco-friendly. The first step is to minimise unnecessary travel and to make as many journeys as possible by foot, bicycle or public transport.
Oil reserves are diminishing and thus many of us will need to consider new types of vehicle. Hybrid models and electric cars are increasing in popularity and as the network of recharging points is expanded across many countries, driving an electric vehicle will become more viable.
Industry also needs to play a part and there is research being carried out on new fuels that potentially have value for road vehicles, aeroplanes and shipping. These changes cannot come quickly enough as we are still unsure whether there is time to reverse the damage we have wreaked on the planet in terms of global warming. Only time will tell, but in the meantime it is important we all make changes, however small, towards using more green modes of transport.