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Cars and Atmospheric Pollution

Car Manufacturing and Disposal Pollution

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A car causes more pollution before it's ever driven than in it's entire lifetime of use.

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Car Manufacturing and Disposal Pollution

dumb and hummerThe Environmental Cost
of One Car

  • Extracting Raw Materials:
    26.5 tonnes of waste
    922 cubic metres of polluted air
  • Transporting Raw Materials:
    12 litres of crude oil in the ocean
    425 million cubic litres of polluted air
  • Producing the Car:
    1.5 tonnes of waste, 74 million cubic litres of polluted air
  • Driving the Car:
    18.4 kilos of abrasive waste, 1,016 million cubic litres of polluted air
  • Disposing of the Car:
    102 million cubic litres of polluted air

source: www.carbusters.org

Pollution During Manufacturing

"The rate of production of new cars is difficult to assimilate: an annual output of 48 million means that, somewhere in the world, one new car appears every second. In eight hours, 40,000 new cars will have been built; in a day, 100,000. With a growth in the human population of some 90 million a year, the arrival of two new babies is accompanied with the arrival of one new car. And this rate of growth is, we are assured by the transport lobby, set to continue. Mackenzie and Walsh, in their report Driving Forces, estimate that the world total of trucks and cars—more than 500 million—could double to one billion in the next twenty years."

Manufacturing process involves not just the raw materials such as steel, iron, rubber, plastics and aluminum, but large amounts of substances that deplete the ozone layer, are greenhouse gasses, or use huge quantities of energy.

Iron and Steel Making: needs large amounts of coal and limestone. A major producer of sulfur diOxide, acids and slag waste.
Aluminum Production: involves substantial soil degradation in bauxite mining. Smelters release sulfur diOxide and are substantial energy users.
Zinc and Lead Industries. Considerable waste problems and a variety of health threats.
Copper Smelting: sulfur diOxide emissions.
Platinum Production: six million tonnes of ore a year have to be refined for catalytic converters
Emissions From Other Pollutants: sulfuric acid for batteries; heavy metals and VOCs in paints; mercury in circuits; CFCs and other greenhouse gases used in foam seats and body parts; asbestos in brake pads.

An average of 27 tons of waste is produced during the manufacturing of one car.

beat the trafficPollution During Disposal

Disposal of old cars and car components—tires, batteries and oil further increase the environmental impact of the car.

Cars use 10 percent of OECD plastics production, for a whole range of fittings, from fuel tanks to door handles. Disposal of the large amounts of PVC, polyurethane, polyprone and high density polythene used in cars is difficult. Over three-quarters of a million tonnes of scrap plastic were produced in 1990 just from cars in Europe.

In 1988, 209.5 million car tires, 42.7 million truck tires and 19 million road tires were produced in the USA alone. Over 320 million were sold in Japan, France, West Germany and the UK Of all these tires, only 30 percent are re-treaded, the bulk of the remainder are dumped.

Their disposal is very problematic.

Heated in the absence of oxygen, tires produce vast quantities of oil, more than a gallon per tire, accompanied by thick black smoke. Dump fires are extremely polluting. Car dumps themselves cause local pollution with high concentrations of lead, cadium and zinc.

On average, each dumped vehicle contains six litres of lubricating oils, three litres of fuel , five litres of cooling liquid and three litres of sulfuric acid.

100 million batteries are discarded per year. Their sulfuric acid contents represent a substantial environmental threat.

In Western Europe, Japan and the USA nearly 40 million cars are discarded every year.

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