Over the past few years, people have grown accustomed to hearing researchers talking about how fossil fuels up pollution levels worldwide and how these energy sources must be linked to numerous cases of pollution-related medical conditions and even deaths.
However, a new investigation has revealed that the biofuels industry is not all that green either.
Thus, it is now argued that Europe will soon witness roughly 1400 of its residents dying on a yearly basis because of health issues caused by the process of growing trees for biofuels.
The researchers who looked into this issue explain their statements concerning the impact of the biofuels industry on public health.
Thus, it often happens that tree species such as poplar, willow or eucalyptus trees are the ones preferred as sources of renewable wood fuel, simply because they grow relatively fast.
However, these tree species are guilty of releasing a chemical compound known as isoprene into their surroundings.
Said chemical compound can bind with the other pollutants already present in the environment, and this process can ultimately lead to the formation of toxic ozone.
Seeing how the latter is known to impact both on public health and on crops, it need not come as a surprise that concerns are now raised with respect to how people and agricultural practices in Europe will respond to their becoming exposed to it.
quotes specialist Nick Hewitt, who made a case of how, “Growing biofuels is thought to be a good thing because it reduces the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere.”
However, “Large-scale production of biofuels in Europe would have small but significant effects on human mortality and crop yields. As far as we know, no one has looked at the air quality of growing biofuel crops before,” this specialist went on to add.
From a financial standpoint, the damages caused by the planned development of the biofuels industry in the European Union might amount to $7.1billion (€5.43 billion / £4.4 billion).
The study was published in the scientific journal Nature Climate Change.