Local Air pollution

No society can afford to ignore air pollution

Air quality is one of today’s vital issues, and out of all of the data and statistics available, here are a few facts that hit us the hardest. First, air pollution is linked to over nine million deaths per year, which translates into one in every six deaths globally (The Lancet Commission on Pollution and Health, 2017). Second, another study came out in 2017 demonstrating that air pollution significantly increases the risk of lifelong health damage to unborn babies, and that 17 million babies are forced to breathe air six times more toxic than WHO guidelines (UNICEF, 2017). As UNICEF Executive Director Anthony Lake recently proclaimed: “No society can afford to ignore air pollution. We protect our children when we protect the quality of our air. Both are central to our future.”

Urban and rural communities should be heard

Air pollution is felt locally, so SHV Energy uses a focused and consistent approach that is globally applicable and locally relevant. For instance, air quality issues in urban environments have a different origin – and therefore a different solution – than issues in rural environments. The same is true when comparing air quality issues in developing and developed countries. Everyone should be heard in this, forcing the question: do urban and rural communities have equitable access to the information and tools they need to improve their own air quality?

Switching to LPG/LNG

There are many causes of air pollution. One significant contributing source is the burning of liquid fuels (such as diesel and heating oil) and solid fuels (such as wood and coal for both domestic and industrial purposes). As a global provider of LPG/LNG, we can help reduce air pollution by encouraging customers to make the switch from more polluting energy carriers to cleaner alternatives from our product portfolio.

Measurements based on WHO guidelines

Unlike reporting for carbon emissions, there is no internationally recognised standard for corporate accounting and the reporting of air polluting emissions. In fact, the interpretation of harmful effects is perceived differently per region, and thresholds, limits and key air pollutants are different in various parts of the world. When listed by species, local air pollutants can total 30-40 different types. Among them, regulators have determined priorities based on toxicity and exposure.

SHV Energy is building a measurement framework that is based on guidelines provided by the World Health Organisation (WHO), which includes the following pollutants: Particulate matter (PM2.5 and PM10), Ozone (O3), Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2), Sulphur Dioxide (SO2) and Carbon Monoxide (CO). The following health effects are experienced by people exposed to elevated levels of the most common pollutants:

  • NO2, SO2, O3: these gases irritate the airways of the lungs, increasing the symptoms of those suffering from lung diseases.

  • PM2.5 and PM10: fine particles can be carried deep into the lungs where they can cause inflammation and a worsening of heart and lung diseases.

  • CO: this gas prevents the uptake of oxygen by the blood. This can lead to a significant reduction in the supply of oxygen to the heart, particularly in people suffering from heart disease.

We talk to our customers about air pollution

Different pollutants, different harmful effects, different energy carriers and different sources all demand the same thing: proper education. Therefore, we go out and talk to our customers, telling them about the benefits of LPG and LNG – they emit a significantly lower amount of air pollutants when compared to other energy carriers. For instance, when we compare diesel and petrol cars to LPG cars, the numbers speaks for themselves:

  • LPG emits up to 82% fewer Nitrogen Oxide pollutants than petrol and up to 99% fewer than diesel.

  • LPG emits 40% fewer Hydrocarbons (which react in sunlight to create ozone) than petrol and 70% fewer than diesel.

  • LPG emits 50% fewer particulates than petrol and 98% fewer than diesel.

Clearly, this is why combatting air pollution is one of our major purposes.

Our Stakeholder Engagement Programme

SHV Energy and our business units are actively involved in addressing the role of LPG to improve air quality, by participating in stakeholder consultation. Our most significant and relevant impact on local air quality is external. That is why this topic is part of our Stakeholder Engagement Programme, which we run in close cooperation with the European and global LPG associations (AEGPL and WLPGA).

Our 2017 initiatives

In 2017, we provided input on the European Public Consultation to support the Fitness Check of the EU Ambient Air Quality Directives. The nature of this initiative and our input:

  • Is holistic and coherent with other EU legislation on transport, energy and environment

  • Is based on the latest scientific evidence on Black Carbon

  • Provides correct and complete information to consumers

  • Considers outdoor and indoor environments, as well as urban and rural areas

At SHV Energy, we support this initiative, and we agree that it is urgent to assess the directives’ relevance, coherence and effectiveness in addressing today’s most pressing air pollutants. They will help to set meaningful air quality standards to protect human health and ecosystems in accordance with the evolving scientific understanding. More information can be found here.

Our 2018 initiatives

Our 2018 Air Quality initiatives also focus on stakeholder engagement, and we will continue to support the European Public Consultation to support the Fitness Check of the EU Ambient Air Quality Directives. This 2018 consultation aims to collect views from stakeholders on:

  • The level of awareness of air quality challenges in general and knowledge of the Ambient Air Quality Directives' provisions in particular.

  • Whether and how the Ambient Air Quality Directives have contributed to improved air quality in Europe.

  • Whether the provisions of the Ambient Air Quality Directives continue to be relevant, effective, efficient, and coherent with other EU and national policies, as well as what their EU value-added is.