Public Transport Users Suck up the Diesel Fumes of the Rich

By Gary Cutlack on at

A sad truth of the air quality wars has emerged from researchers at the University of Surrey, who are warning that travelling by public transport through urban areas is extremely bad for everyone's health thanks to the way buses and trains basically vacuum up all the dirty air from the cars surrounding them and... there you go. Breathe that in while you fruitlessly attempt to connect to the Wi-Fi.

The researchers claim that public transport users might end up being exposed to eight times the level of the most dangerous particulate matter in this way, which is quite the ironic insult as it's the fumes generated by the cars of the often wealthier individual driver commuters that generates the bulk of the poor air in the first place.

The study looked at travellers in London, using cars, buses and the Underground. Exposure to the tiny PM10 particulate matter was as high as 68 micrograms for travellers on some Underground lines, which you'd think would escape the worst of it, compared with an average of just eight micrograms for car drivers up above in the sky, with windows that work and the occasional refreshing, cleansing breeze.

Study lead Dr Prashant Kumar said: "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." [PA]


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