The Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) is urging car owners to get into the habit of regular car checkup and maintenance to make sure they do not contribute to air pollution.
The appeal was made as the DENR, together with the Coalition of Clean Air Advocates of the Philippines (CCAAP), led on Friday a nationwide campaign promoting vehicle inspection and maintenance consciousness among motorists.
The Second National Check Your Car Day, with the theme “Clean Air through National Motor Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Awareness,” is the culminating activity for the observance of November as Clean Air Month.
“We advocate the need for each vehicle owner to consciously inspect and maintain his vehicle, not only to ensure its longevity and good condition, but also to reduce its potential to contribute to air pollution,” DENR Secretary Ramon Paje said.
More than 500 private emission testing centers (PETCs) nationwide, of which more than 100 are in Metro Manila, were mobilized by the CCAAP for the event by providing free vehicle emission test to volunteered vehicles registered with the Land Transportation Office (LTO).
During the event, several members of the Anti-Smoke Belching Units (ASBUs) formed by the DENR’s Environmental Management Bureau (EMB) tested the emissions of vehicles of the department, its employees, the Quezon City local government, several public utility jeepneys, and other interested parties. Joining them were representatives from the CCAAP and local transport groups.
Paje, however, clarified that the results of the test may not be used for registration purposes, “but solely for owners to know the state of their vehicles and be encouraged to maintain them.”
Around 80 percent of air pollution in the country comes from mobile sources or motorized vehicles. The rest are from open burning and stationary sources like factories.
To reduce smoke-belchers on the road, the LTO has required emission testing of vehicles prior to registration.
The DENR had ordered the installation of closed circuit television cameras to monitor emission testing in all PETCs, and partnered with local government units to form ASBUs that apprehend smoke-belchers. Emission tests have also been conducted in the garages of bus operators.
DENR Assistant Secretary and concurrent EMB Director Juan Miguel Cuna said these efforts were done not to catch as many violators as possible, but to help the public.
Referring to those who pay off PETCs to certify their vehicles even without undergoing actual testing, Cuna said, “We want to remind you that you do not benefit from such shortcuts. We all breathe in the same air, and driving with vehicles that fail our standards affects us and our children. Everyone loses.”
The DENR has also coordinated with the Department of Energy for the imposition of stricter emission standards for vehicles, directing the transition of fuel use from Euro2 to Euro4 standards starting July 2015.
Euro4 fuels have a sulfur content of only 50 parts per million (PPM), compared with 500 PPM for Euro2.
The government is also promoting the use of e-vehicles or conversion to the use of alternative fuels like compressed natural gas, liquefied petroleum gas, and biofuels.