When Worlds Collide, by Nalaka Gunawardene

Text of my ‘When Worlds Collide’ column published in Ceylon Today Sunday newspaper on 15 July 2012

My column last week – about World Health Organisation confirming diesel fumes cause lung causer – elicited many responses. Some cautioned that phasing out high sulphur diesel from Lankan roads isn’t going to be easy.

The automobile industry has much at stake and would want to continue business as usual. Policy, legal and regulatory changes take time, and will require evidence-based arguments and sustained pressure. Health campaigners and environmentalists have their work cut out for them.

They must stay focused on vehicle emissions. Yes, some power plants are also prolific users of diesel, but they have smoke stacks and their emissions can be centrally treated. In contrast, millions of diesel-burning vehicles are a distributed — and mobile — source that emits fumes right in our faces.

This debate is not about diesel vs…

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