In news– Recently, UNEP announced that the use of leaded petrol has been eradicated from the globe.
- The eradication of leaded petrol is a milestone that will prevent more than 1.2 million premature deaths and save world economies over $2.4 trillion annually.
- Algeria was the last country to use the fuel, exhausted its supplies in July 2021.
- This development follows an almost two decades long campaign by the UNEP-led global Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV).
- The eradication of leaded petrol marks major progress ahead of this year’s International Day of Clean Air for blue skies on the 7th of September.
- India banned leaded petrol in March 2000.
What is leaded petrol?
- Tetraethyl lead, abbreviated TEL, is an organolead compound.
- It is a petro-fuel additive, first being mixed with gasoline beginning in the 1920s as a patented octane rating booster that allowed engine compression to be raised substantially.
- This in turn caused increased vehicle performance and fuel economy.
- TEL had been identified chemically in the mid-19th century, but its antiknock effectiveness was discovered in 1921 by the General Motors research laboratory.
- From the 1970s many countries began phasing out and eventually banning TEL in automotive fuel.
- However, TEL is still used as an additive in some grades of aviation gasoline.
- It causes heart disease, stroke and cancer and also affects the development of the human brain, especially harming children.
- Lead also poisons catalytic converters and is a major cause of spark plug fouling.
- Early symptoms of acute exposure to tetraethyllead can manifest as irritation of the eyes and skin, sneezing, fever, vomiting, and a metallic taste in the mouth.
- Chronic exposure to TEL can cause long-term negative effects such as memory loss, delayed reflexes, neurological problems, insomnia, tremors, psychosis, loss of attention, and an overall decrease in IQ and cognitive function.
About the Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles (PCFV):
- In 2002, the PCFV was set up at the World Summit on Sustainable Development.
- UNEP hosted the Secretariat with the aim of eliminating leaded petrol globally and provided support to many countries and regional initiatives.
- At the time, 117 countries world-wide were still using leaded petrol with 86 countries supported to phase out leaded petrol.
- In 2006, the first major success was achieved as Sub-Saharan Africa went unleaded.
- The last country to switch was Algeria in July 2021.