Breathing clean air on the road

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By Dennis Limlingan

The Advocate

Monday, February 17, 2014


ACCORDING to a study, more than fifty percent of the air pollution in the country’s urban areas comes from vehicular emissions. This despite the existence of Republic Act No. 8749 otherwise known as the Philippine Clean Air Act and the requirement of Smoke Emission Test before a motor vehicle be registered or renewed of its registration with the Land Transportation Office.

Fuel-burning vehicles produce harmful exhaust composed mostly of toxic chemicals that does not only harms the environment but also humans. They cause intense air pollution from exhaust gases that are composed of carbon monoxide and other toxic gases and air pollutants.

While we cannot avoid using vehicles in this modern world, laws can control somehow the vehicles that are being used especially those that produces emission gases beyond the standards.

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Old vehicles should be regulated as they can be easily monitored with their annual registration and smoke emission tests as a requirement. Old vehicles are usually, but not all, number one belchers of harmful gases.

The smoke emission testing program imposed by the government has become an ineffective means of curbing smoke-belchers and air polluters. The program that is supposed to monitor vehicles with emissions that do not meet emission standards and not be issued with a certificate that the vehicle tested passed the emission test is a failure.

There are random checkpoints meanwhile for monitoring and apprehending smoke belchers but like the tests being conducted in emission testing centers, they fail to deter smoke belching among vehicles.

Drivers avoid these checkpoints to avoid tests and apprehension, like rats hiding from the mouse.

Those vehicles that failed emission tests should have their plates confiscated by the Land Transportation Office (LTO) pending the correction of the vehicles’ systems for an improved and cleaner gas emissions. This does not happen anyway as almost every registration of vehicles on Philippine roads are renewed every year without any question on their emissions tests.

During my trips in some Asian countries, I have observed that even their cargo delivery trucks have no foul or visible emission. While their vehicles of course have their gas emissions, it’s not like those that we have here in the country.

Such countries to have their clean air laws. Their difference from us is the fact that they have stricter implementation of their laws.

When we see smoke belchers on Philippine roads, we can find it hard to believe that such vehicles passed emission tests and that they are not polluting our air. From the black smoke that comes out from their mufflers, we can instantly conclude that they are among the air polluters that we have today.

One day while I was waiting for a jeepney along the Jose Abad Santos Avenue near the Dolores, City of San Fernando for a ride, a public utility bus passed in front of me while I was beside a man wearing an all white uniform. He seems to be a nurse or a medical staff, by looking at his outfit.

The bus while passing in front of us sped and emitted thick black smoke that literally left some small visible small particles in the white uniform of the man beside me.

We need not actually conduct smoke emission tests on vehicles to prove that they are smoke belchers and that they violate clean air laws. By simply looking at the man’s outfit, we can instantly conclude that we are not breathing clean air.

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For any comments, ideas, suggestions or opinions, text or call The Advocate at 09213636360 or send email at dencious@yahoo.com.

Published in the Sun.Star Pampanga newspaper on February 18, 2014.

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