Hong Kong’s Environmental Protection Department (EPD) is planning vehicle emission tests at random locations roadside from September in a bid to improve the air quality, Ming Pao Daily reported Wednesday.
According to the plan, the EPD will pick three sites per day without advance notice and set up roadside remote sensors to see if emissions from passing vehicles meet standards. Vehicles that fail to pass the test and fail to pass re-inspection will be penalized, including suspension of licenses.
The tests are expected to target the more than 400,000 private cars, 18,000 taxis and 3,000 minibuses in the city.
EPD’s data show concentration of nitrogen dioxide, which is the main cause of roadside pollution, has been getting heavier as it has risen 21 percent over the past six years.
Mok Wai-chuen, assistant director in charge of air policy at EPD, said nitrogen dioxide mainly comes from vehicle emissions. Concentration of nitrogen oxides could be ten times higher than normal level if vehicles suffer problems in their exhaust systems, he said.
Environmental groups welcomed the government’s move, but Sum Kwong, managing director of Clean Air Network, said the surprise tests alone will not be enough to improve the air quality. Taxis and minibuses should be required to undergo mandatory emission inspections, she said.
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