In 2017, research published in the scientific journal Nature revealed the life-threatening effects of diesel emissions. According to that global inventory that was taken, every year, around 38,000 people succumb to early death because of diesel emissions that are over the safe limits, particularly when driving in real-world conditions.
A large number of the recorded deaths were caused by lung and heart disease and stroke. Additionally, most of the cases involved highly polluting vehicles in Europe. The increasing cases of excess nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions are also a significant culprit.
NOx emissions are an issue that was highlighted by the Dieselgate scandal that exploded in 2015 courtesy of German car manufacturer Volkswagen.
What are NOx emissions and their effects?
NOx or nitrogen oxides are regulated pollutants. They are chemical compounds that form when nitrogen reacts with oxygen as both are subjected to high temperatures. In the combustion process, the two combine and produce NO or nitric oxide. As nitric oxide reacts with oxygen, NO2 or nitrogen dioxide is formed. Together, NO and NO2 are referred to as NOx or oxides of nitrogen.
Although nitric oxide is not hazardous to human health, it becomes dangerous when combined with an irritant gas such as NO2. This is why regular exposure to and high concentrations of NOx is risky for humans. Nitrogen oxide also harms the environment.
NOx can cause several health issues, specifically respiratory conditions, chronic lung disease, diabetes, and cancer. Exposure to NOx also aggravates asthma in people who already have the condition. More serious effects result from long-term exposure to nitrogen oxides, the most common of which is inflammation of the airways, which can lead to increased risk of heart disease, heart disease, and lung cancer.
As already mentioned, exposure to NOx can also lead to early death, which is quite common in the UK. In 2015 alone, of the 64,000 deaths caused by air pollution, approximately 17,000 resulted from heart and artery-related diseases while more than 29,000 were attributed to various other conditions, including lung cancer and lung disease.
Nitrogen oxide also affects the environment as it is responsible for the formation of smog and acid rain, as well as ground-level ozone. It also damages vegetation.
One of the most common sources of nitrogen oxides is cars. And this is where the Diesel emissions scandal fits in.
The Dieselgate scandal
As mentioned earlier, the Dieselgate scandal broke in 2015 in an incident that involved Volkswagen and the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA accused the car manufacturer of installing defeat devices in their diesel vehicles in the US. The devices were used to cheat on lab tests so the vehicles emitted reduced levels of NOx. When the cars were tested on real-life driving conditions, they reverted to their usual extremely high levels of hazardous emissions.
In the months that followed, the Dieselgate scandal found its way to the UK and other parts of Europe. Not long after, other car manufacturers were implicated in the scandal, including another German car manufacturer, Mercedes-Benz.
The Mercedes-Benz diesel emissions scandal started in 2016, after the US EPA and the California Air Resources Board accused the carmaker of selling around 250,000 diesel vehicles that were fitted with auxiliary emission control devices, or defeat devices. In 2017, Mercedes-Benz’s Germany manufacturing sites were raided by prosecutors in relation to the investigation on the use of defeat devices.
By 2018, defeat devices were found in numerous Mercedes-Benz diesel vehicles all over Europe. Mercedes’ parent company, Daimler, had to recall more than 700,000 vehicles.
Throughout the years that the car manufacturer has been implicated in the scandal, and after paying millions in fines and diesel emissions claim compensation, Mercedes continues to deny all allegations against them.
Car owners who bought the affected vehicles state that they feel they were cheated. They were told that they were buying an environmentally friendly vehicle but in reality, they were polluting the air every time they took out and drove their car. While this is already a major reason to file for a diesel compensation claim, the greater reason is the health consequences that arose from the scandal, particularly for drivers in the UK and Europe, where diesel cars were heavily advertised at the time of the scandal.
Over the years, even before the Dieselgate scandal broke, millions of diesel cars have been driven on UK roads. Most of these vehicles exceeded the emissions limits by a factor of 20. This has resulted in about 500,000 tonnes of NOx emissions being emitted, which surpasses mandated levels by several magnitudes. This has led to devastating effects on the UK and Europe’s air quality, with acid rain, smog, and other forms of pollution tainting the air.
The poor air quality has also claimed many lives, the most controversial and impactful of which was the death of nine-year-old Ella Kissi-Debrah in February 2013 due to asthma caused by excessive air pollution. Hers was the first recognised case of death by air pollution in the UK.
If being cheated by your car manufacturer has not affected you enough to start an emission claim, Ella’s tragic case should do that. Poor air quality can affect anyone, you and your family included.
How do I claim my Mercedes diesel emission compensation?
After the Dieselgate scandal broke, the UK government strengthened its action plan in improving air quality. It implemented a Real Driving Emissions (RDE) test in 2017 and set up CAZs or Clean Air Zones in several areas throughout the country.
Aside from these, however, car manufacturers like Mercedes-Benz should be held liable for cheating on their customers. You should file an emissions claim against your manufacturer.
But you might ask, how do I begin my diesel claim? It’s quite simple – all you have to do is find an experienced, registered, and committed group of solicitors who are ready to help you get the compensation you deserve from your car manufacturer. The panel of solicitors at ClaimExperts.co.uk have opened their Mercedes Diesel Emission claim. This means you can join the Group Litigation Order and have your claim paired with thousands of others. . To start, check your eligibility on their Mercedes Diesel Claim eligibility checker.