By Ko Lin
Diesel trucks and buses that spew black exhaust fumes will soon be regulated and restricted from entering the island’s scenic areas and other specified locations after failing their emission tests, according to the Environmental Protection Administration on Wednesday.
Stiffer inspections will be carried out as part of the government’s efforts to lower air pollution levels in towns and cities, the EPA said.
Department of Air Quality Protection and Noise Control Director-General Chen Hsien-heng said the new set of rules is primarily targeted at older diesel trucks and buses as exhaust inspections on heavy-duty diesel engines were fairly relaxed in the past.
“The plan is to have a set of emission grades where those having passed a certain emission standard will be handed a specific approval sticker issued by the EPA,” he said.
Authorities will then determine if the truck drivers can have access to enter a certain area by looking at the emission grade they received. According to Chen, the areas where such rules will apply include national parks, shipping ports, industrial zones, airports, and in certain parts of town where traffic is often congested during rush hours.
The agency is still in talks with the Ministry of Transportation and Communications and various local governments to work out the specifics of the rule, which target diesel trucks, he said.
“It’s been found that older diesel trucks can cause twice the levels of PM2.5 than a coal-fired power plant,” Chen said, adding that 12 percent of the island’s air pollution comes from heavy-duty diesel trucks and coaches.
The director-general pointed out that newly-imported diesel trucks are excluded from these extra rules as they are already recognized by the European Union as “complying with relevant testing regulations of European Union Directive 2005/55/EC and subsequently revised regulations.”
According to Chen, trails are currently been carried out in Tainan’s Anping Port and Kaohsiung’s Cheng Ching Lake area, expressing hope that other cities and counties can soon follow suit.