The United Nations announces the end of the use of leaded motor fuels in the world

The United Nations Environment Program announced on Monday the end of the use of leaded motor fuels worldwide, a historic achievement that will prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths and save more than 2.4 trillion dollars. annually on the global economy.

Nearly a century after doctors first warned about the use of tetraethyl lead as a gasoline additive to improve engine performance, Algeria, the last country to use the fuel, exhausted its supplies last July, describing it as a historic victory in the fight for cleaner air.

"The successful implementation of the ban on leaded gasoline is a milestone for global health and our environment," said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme.

Even about two decades ago, more than 100 countries around the world were still using leaded fuel, despite studies linking it to premature death, disease, and soil and air pollution.

Serious concerns were raised about him in 1924, after dozens of workers in a refinery run by the giant American company "Standard Oil" needed to be admitted to hospitals for treatment as a result of convulsions that led to the death of five of them.
However, in the 1970s almost all of the gasoline produced around the world contained lead.

When the United Nations Environment Program began in 2002 its campaign to eliminate lead used in gasoline, many major countries had already stopped using it, including the United States, China and India, but in low-income countries the situation remained dire.

In 2016, after North Korea, Burma and Afghanistan stopped selling leaded gasoline, only a handful of countries were left to provide this fuel at their stations, including Algeria, which recently joined Iraq and Yemen in ending its dependence on this polluting fuel.

“Banning the use of leaded gasoline prevents more than 1.2 million premature deaths annually, increases IQ scores among children, saves $2.45 trillion to the global economy, and reduces crime rates,” the United Nations Environment Program said in a statement. “.

The UN agency indicated that these figures are the findings of a study of a number of scientists conducted in 2010 at Northridge University in California.

The agency stressed the need to reduce the use of fossil fuels in general to combat climate change and its devastating effects.

Greenpeace hailed the news as "a celebration of the end of a toxic era".

"This clearly shows that if we can phase out one of the most dangerous polluting fuels in the 20th century, we can inevitably phase out the rest of the fossil fuels," said Thandele Chiniavano, a climate and energy campaigner at FAO.

"African governments should not make more excuses about the fossil fuel industry," she added.

It is estimated that car sales will witness significant growth globally, especially in emerging markets.
“The transportation sector is responsible for nearly a quarter of global warming related to energy. Gas emissions are set to rise to a third by 2050.”

"1.2 billion new cars will be on the roads in the coming decades, many of which will use fossil fuels (...) This includes millions of poor quality used cars exported from Europe, the United States and Japan to middle and low income countries," he said.

He pointed out that "this contributes to the rise in the temperature of the planet, air pollution and causes accidents."
Earlier this month, a report from the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change warned that the average temperature of the Earth will be 1.5 degrees higher by 2030, a decade earlier than expected, raising the alarm about the use of fossil fuels.


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