2007-12-26 03:19:51 Shanghai Daily
FROM next week Shanghai will insist on reduced emissions for new heavy vehicles and will establish a special task force which will carry out on the spot checks on vehicles, city officials announced yesterday.
Both measures are a result of the new national and local air pollution control laws that take effect on January 1, said officials of the Shanghai Environmental Protection Bureau.
"We plan to spend three to five years solving the city's air pollution problem," Su Guodong, head of the bureau's pollution control department, told a news conference yesterday.
He said the bureau and the city's traffic team will set up a task force with more than 20 inspectors to conduct random emission checks on vehicles on city streets.
The team will be legally empowered to immediately stop any vehicle producing black toxic fumes and will also be able to stop any car with an emission above the legal limit.
Owners whose vehicles fail the emission tests will have their road certificates withheld. If the owners cannot repair the emission systems within 15 days they will be forbidden to drive the vehicles in the city.
At this stage there is no talk of imposing fines.
From January 1, Shanghai will not allow any new buses or large trucks to be sold and used if their emission levels fail to meet the new National III emission standard.
And from July next year every vehicle in Shanghai will have to meet the same standards. The National III standard demands there be more than 30 percent fewer harmful chemicals in emissions compared with the current National II standard.
Vehicle emissions account for up to 90 percent of the city's air pollutants, environmental officials said.
Although the government is tackling the problem now, it could take years for the efforts to pay off, they said.
Of particular concern are the buses. Shanghai has more than 20,000 buses and most of them are diesel powered, according to the city's transport management bureau. About half of them are more than three years old but lack proper maintenance which can lead to the pollution problems.
According to Chen Youkou, a senior engineer of Modern Transport Construction Company, many city buses have emission levels above the standards and the black fumes common from buses include carcinogens like nitrogenous dioxide, sulfur dioxide and lead.
The government has promised to improve maintenance on buses.
It also plans to work with the various bus companies to solve the problem.
Transport experts say a major reason for the emission problems is that bus companies grudge the high costs of maintenance.