China To Limit Car Emissions

CNC report from Beijing
Added On January 17, 2013

While the sky in Beijing has been clearing after days of smog in many Chinese cities, concerns for public health remain, with calls for more efforts to curb pollution, in a bid to prevent hazardous air in future.

Now the Chinese government is considering further limiting the emissions of light vehicles, a major contributor to air pollutants.

What was once a country of bicycles, has become a nation of cars... A rapid transformation that has taken a heavy toll, on China's air.

Over the weekend hundreds of cities were suffocated by some of the worst smog in the country...

PM 2.5 readings - the amount of fine particles less than two and a half microns in size - reached 40 times the World Health Organization's guidelines, in some places.

And even 900 per cubic meter in the Capital - a reading beyond "fatal", according to the WHO.

Now, the government is under pressure to do something about it.

On Wednesday, a draft rule limiting the emission of particulate matter by light vehicles, was opened to public opinion.

Apart from limiting the amount of particles a car is allowed to emit, it also says more frequent in-car monitoring of emissions is needed.

It's expected to encourage auto companies to adopt more effective technology to control emissions, especially particulate matter.

Under China's sorting system, "light vehicles" refer to cars weighing less than 3500 kg, including private cars, coaches and freight vans.

Demand for cars has surged in recent years, despite curbs from governments in major cities like Beijing and Shanghai, which force hopeful buyers to enter a lottery, and restrict the number of days they can drive.

Figures from the Ministry of Environmental Protection show the country had more than 82 million light vehicles by the end of 2011.

And those millions of new cars, are churning out thousands of tonnes more pollutants - which makes them the primary source of pollution in many Chinese cities, including Beijing.

In 2011 alone, China's cars sent out more than 800 thousand tons of nitrogen oxide, 65 thousand tons of particulate matter and 16 million tons of carbon monoxide.

And millions more, are lining up to buy a car...

Making the government's fight against pollution even harder - and more urgent - than ever.