Cars may be very convenient for millions of people, but they are hugely inconvenient in so many ways.

Of course, the chief reason why we oppose cars is the damage that they cause to the environment: pollutants from car exhausts cause both immediate and long-term damage to the environment (and to human and animal health). The emissions from cars cause acid rain, global warming and climate change. As I am sure you are aware, the current fuels on which the vast majority of cars in the world run are finite. Once they are burnt, they can’t be used again. The following harmful chemicals are emitted into the atmosphere when petrol is burned by cars’ engines: nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and carcinogenic gases. Of course, this has a hugely damaging effect on the health of the planet, the atmosphere and thus human health – and that of all other fauna and flora. Cars also emit particulate matter (which can be deposited on soil and surface water, which can poison the entire food chain) and ozone. Emissions of nitrogen – and sulphur – oxides also cause acid rain. This alters the pH levels of our rivers, streams and lakes, which, (un)naturally, harms/kills many of the plant and animal species which depend on these natural habitats.

If the entire world were to go car-free, it is estimated that 4.6 million human lives could be saved, per year. Furthermore, far fewer people would have asthma attacks (from breathing in particulate matter from vehicle exhausts). Levels of ground-level ozone – which contributes to chronic respiratory diseases – would reduce, further improving human health. Reducing this ozone level would increase agricultural yields and support the structure and function of ecosystems. Also, a reduction in nitrogen oxide levels in the atmosphere would improve the health of people who have asthma – and reduce the frequency of asthma attacks. Levels of cardiovascular and respiratory damage would reduce, enabling more people to live longer, healthier lives.

From a human wellbeing perspective, fewer people using cars means more people walking more (to and from work and/or the bus-stop/train station). This would have a beneficial impact upon human health and also upon local communities. People might actually start valuing their natural surroundings more – and becoming more of a part in their cleaner, greener community. Imagine that!