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New Delhi, when gas stations in Algeria stopped supplying leaded gasoline in July, the use of leaded gasoline worldwide ended. This development follows a nearly two-decade campaign led by the UNEP-led Global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV).

Since 1922, the use of tetraethyl lead as an additive to gasoline to improve engine performance has been a disaster for the environment and public health. In the 1970s, almost all the oil produced in the world contained lead.

When the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) launched its campaign to eliminate lead from gasoline in 2002, it was one of the most serious environmental threats to human health.

The year 2021 marked the end of leaded gasoline in the world, after contaminating the air, dust, soil, drinking water and food crops for nearly a century. Leaded gasoline causes heart disease, stroke, and cancer. It also affects the development of the human brain, especially children, with studies suggesting that it reduced 5-10 IQ points.

Banning leaded gasoline is estimated to prevent over 1.2 million premature deaths per year, increase IQ points in children, save $ 2.45 trillion per year global economy and reduce crime rates.

“The successful implementation of the leaded gasoline ban is an important step for global health and our environment,” said UNEP Executive Director Inger Andersen.

“As we overcome a century of death and disease that has affected hundreds of millions of people and degraded the world’s environment, we are reinvigorated to improve humanity’s trajectory through an accelerated transition to clean vehicles and electric mobility. ”

By the 1980s, most high-income countries had banned the use of leaded gasoline, but until 2002, almost all low- and middle-income countries, including some members of the Cooperation Organization and Development Economics (OECD), were still using leaded gasoline.

The PCFV is a public-private partnership that brought together all stakeholders, providing technical assistance, raising awareness, overcoming local challenges and resistance from local oil traders and lead producers, as well as investing in the modernization of refineries.

Kwaku Afriyie, Ghanaian Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation, said: “When the UN started working with governments and businesses to phase out lead from petroleum, the Sub-Saharan African countries have seized this opportunity with enthusiasm. Ghana was one of the five countries in West Africa. As a result of media campaigns, reports, PCFV studies, exposure of illegalities and public tests carried out to expose the high levels of lead in the blood of the population, Ghana has become increasingly determined to release its lead fuel. ”

Despite these advances, the rapidly growing global vehicle fleet continues to contribute to the threat of local air, water and soil pollution, as well as the global climate crisis: the transport sector bears close responsibility. a quarter of global energy-related greenhouse gas emissions. emissions and is expected to reach a third by 2050.

While many countries have already started to switch to electric cars, 1.2 billion new vehicles will be put into circulation in the coming decades, and many of them will use fossil fuels, especially in developing countries. This includes millions of shoddy used vehicles exported from Europe, the United States and Japan to middle and low income countries. This contributes to global warming and traffic polluting the air and can only cause accidents.

“The fact that a UN-backed alliance of governments, businesses and civil society has succeeded in ridding the world of this toxic fuel is testament to the power of multilateralism to move the world forward towards sustainability and a better future. cleaner and greener, ”said Andersen.

“We urge these same stakeholders to build on this huge achievement to ensure that now that we have cleaner fuels, we also embrace cleaner vehicle standards globally – the combination of fuels and more vehicles. clean can reduce emissions by more than 80 percent. ”

In addition, while the world has now eliminated the largest source of lead pollution, urgent action is still needed to stop lead pollution from other sources, such as lead in paints, lead acid batteries and lead in household items.

The end of leaded gasoline should support the achievement of several sustainable development goals, including good health and well-being (SDG3), clean water (SDG6), clean energy (SDG7), cities sustainable (SDG11), climate action (SDG13). ) and life on land (SDG15).

It also offers an opportunity to restore ecosystems, especially in urban areas, particularly degraded by this toxic pollutant.

Finally, it marks a major step forward ahead of this year’s International Clean Air Day for Blue Skies on September 7.

From 15,740 crore rupees in 2017, the total subsidy for renewable energy in India has fallen by almost 45% to 8,577 crore rupees in 2020, reveals a latest study, highlighting the need to increase financial support to achieve the goals of Aatmanirbhar Bharat and clean energy transition.

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