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Asian Tribune is published by E-LANKA MEDIA(PVT)Ltd. Vol. 20 No. 109

Vehicle toxic gas emission to end next year

By Quintus Perera – Asian Tribune

Colombo, 02 December, ( As a result of a citizen going to the Supreme Court in 1998, to get an assurance to breath fresh air the initiative to alleviate the air pollution was set in motion by the authorities and after nearly 10 long years, things appear to be moving to put a stop to vehicle emissions as the government has awarded the task to two private companies – CleanCo Lanka (Pvt) Ltd and Laugfs Eco Sri (Pvt) Ltd to test and issue emission certificates and they are expected to commence work in April next year. Obtaining of the certificate would be mandatory.

Vehicle emissions -carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, hydrocarbons – contribute to the formation of photochemical smog, acid deposition and elevated CO levels and these pollutants cause respiratory problems, increase toxicity and mortality, and the effects are more severe in urban areas where vehicle use is higher.

The proposed Vehicle Emission Testing programme was launched last week at the BMICH by CleanCo Lanka [Pvt] Ltd and Laugfs Eco Sri {Pvt] Ltd. at the initiative of the Ministry of Environment & Natural Resources and the project investment would be rupees one billion..

Minister of Environmental & Natural Resources Patali Champika Ranawaka, Minister of Environment and Natural Resources speaking at the occasion said that environmental pollution has deep repercussions on the very existence of human beings as due to the global warming it is not far away the melting of ice caps would submerge large parts of the world and in time to come even the very place they are having the function, BMICH area, Muthurajawela, Bellanwila etc would also get submerged.

He said that in the meantime, the natural resources such as oil, iron etc and in about eight years oil would reach the saturation point of 900 billion barrels and in about anther 40 years time these resources would diminish from the earth. He said that 40 years is not a long time, but still people have not found solid alternatives to replace these diminishing vital resources.

He said that Sri Lanka too should prepare to face the eventualities and indicated that technological waste too is posing a major issue, in addition to the present garbage menace. He said that it has been estimated that around 10 million mobile telephones are used in the country and they contain batteries that are poisonous and these telephones are discarded the batteries are dumped in the garbage heaps causing a serious danger to the environment. He said that it the same in the case of computers as once they are discarded they are simply thrown to the garbage heaps.

He said that the government would not compromise the protection of the resource base with any development activity. The protection of the country’s air resources is top in the country’s environmental protection agenda and their concern for the environment is reflected in the 2008 budget which proposed several new initiatives including the introduction of a new environmental tax act and the establishment of the Sri Lanka Carbon Fund.

Dr Ruwan Wijemuni, Deputy Medical Officer, Colombo Municipality made some stunning revelations of the dangers and health hazards caused by vehicle emissions. He said that out of the 19 million population of Sri Lanka 1/4th around 5 million are school children and most of the schools are located just by the side of roads.

He said that 1.9 million vehicles are run on these roads and 60 percent are driven in Colombo. Vehicle emissions fall into number one air polluter while others like burning of refuse, burning of solid waste, road dust etc.

He said that in addition to Colombo, major cities such as Kandy, Kurunegala, Puttalam, Galle, Nuwara-Eliya etc.

He said that according to the latest WHO reports certain pollutant levels are three times higher than over and above the accepted norms.

He said that earlier, the contributory factors for high mortality in Sri Lanka were endemic diseases etc but after 1992 with the increase of industries and vehicular traffic such illnesses like heart attacks, respiratory diseases, lung related diseases have taken the centre place.

Once the project is launched the two companies would set up 32 permanent centres to issue emission certificates and in addition there would also be 80 mobile emission testing units.

Once the scheme comes into operation the obtaining of the emission certificate would become mandatory and an annual charge is levied to obtain the certificate. The charges would be in the range of Rs 302 for three wheelers and motorcycles; petrol driven cars Rs 650, Diesel driven cars Rs 660; motor lorries Rs 935; and motor coaches Rs 605. The two investor private companies who install equipment and carry out the tests to issue the emission certificates collect the revenue and out of it 10 percent would have to be remitted to the government.

Minister of Railways and Transport Dallus Alahapperuma, Minister of Road Passenger Transportation Lasantha Alagiyawanna, Director CleanCo Anura Vidanagamage, and Chairman Laugfs Eco Sri W.K.H. Wegapitiya were also present at the launch.

- Asian Tribune -

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