A German court has ruled this week that cities in the car-loving country are at liberty to ban heavily-polluting diesel vehicles, a move that would add to the growing number of cities in Europe and around the world that have already announced near-future bans.
After the ban was announced, Hamburg said it would start to implement limits on diesel vehicles from the end of April.
The German decision was met with mixed reactions, as were similar decisions in other cities, as diesel vehicles had previously been seen as better option than petrol vehicles as they were more efficient in terms of carbon emissions and fuel.
Diesel vehicles could travel further per gallon of fuel compared to petrol, leading some European governments to decide that on diesel technology to help meet their carbon dioxide targets.
But diesel cars emit nitrogen oxides and soot (fine particulate matter that contain toxins), which are dangerous to human health.
Many German cities exceed European Union limits on nitrogen dioxide, which causes respiratory disease, and the government has been weighing up possible measures to bring down air pollutant levels, including free public transport in several German cities.
Other cities that have announced bans on diesel vehicles include:
Copenhagen, after 2019
Rome, by 2024
Beijing, by 19 September 2019, on all diesel trucks with an emission standard of “national 3”
Transport is a major contributor to air pollution in many urban areas in the world.
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