Beijing to Replace All Taxis with Electric Vehicles
This is news very near and dear to my heart and lungs. Reducing toxic air pollution in urban environments is crucial to improving public health. If you live in an urban city, you may or may not be familiar with AQI, the air quality index. This measures the amount of ground-level ozone, particulates, sulfur dioxide, carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide in the air. Depending on where you live, the AQI will exclude some of these measures. But ground level inhaled particulate matter and other toxins spewed from internal combustion vehicles have adverse affects on local lives, including asthma, bronchitis, sinus infections, cancer, and death. Especially in Asia, which has developed so much industrially and socioeconomically, pollution is a very big, very visible problem. Many months of the year, citizens are encouraged to wear face masks, and you can forget about exercising outside unprotected. So it is great to see China taking action against localized deadly pollution.
China will begin to replace all taxis in Beijing with electric vehicles. All new replacement models for decommissioned taxis will have to be electric starting in 2017. Hopefully, China will make a serious push to lower their toxic emissions, because as of right now, the smog can reach as far as the west coast of the United States, thanks to prevailing wind patterns. But the most harmful pollutants are happening on the streets, as localized emissions are trapped between buildings and hover on the sidewalks and windows where people live, work, and play. This type of pollution is usually not expressed by AQI indexes because of where the monitors are set up, so the harmful effects are much worse than indicated. Electric vehicles are the best way to reduce localized air pollution in urban environments.