PESHAWAR: Revising environmental quality standards after a gap of three decades, the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa transport and mass transit department has increased the number of parameters for checking vehicular emissions from three to six.

According to the department, the move will help reduce vehicular emissions to ensure clean air and environment.

The environmental quality standards for vehicular testing were last revised in 1994.

A notification issued here said the NEQs (national environmental quality standards) were revised under Section 74(h) and (I) of the Motor Vehicles Ordinance, 1965, and in light of the recommendation of the technical experts of the vehicle emission testing stations (VETS).

Environmental quality standards for vehicle testing last revised in 1994, says official

Unlike the previous NEQs in which vehicular emissions testing included smoke, carbon monoxide and noise only, the revised ones have increased the number of those parameters to seven. The VETS will also check vehicles for nitrogen oxide, carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon pollutants.

In the revised NEQs, the department lowered the permissible limit for smoke, carbon monoxide and noise.

According to them, the minimum permissible limit for the smoke has been reduced from 40 per cent or two per cent on the Rignlemann Scale to 20 per cent or one per cent on the Rignlemann Scale.

The notification said the lowering of the permissible limit had become necessary due to the motorisation, which was causing more emissions. In addition, lesser hazardous smoke will bring about clean environment.

Besides, carbon monoxide permissible limit for new vehicles has also been reduced from 4.5 per cent to 1.5 per cent, while the limit for used vehicles has also been reduced from six per cent to 2.5 per cent.

According to the notification, carbon monoxide leads to severe breathing, skin and respiratory problems, so reduction in its emission will positively impact the people’s health.

Also, the initiative is likely to ease pressure on health system by reducing diseases caused by pollutions.

The revised NEQs also reduced the permissible limit for noise from 85 to 75 decibels. The carbon dioxide emission permissible limit will be 10 per cent for the new vehicles and 20 per cent for old vehicles, while hydrocarbon emission has been set at 50PPM for new vehicles and 300PPM for used vehicles.

On the other hand, nitrogen oxide permissible limits have been set at 50PPM for new vehicles and 200PPM for used vehicles.

Provincial director (transport) Fahad Ikram Qazi told Dawn that the VETS were checking the vehicles under the NEQs notified in 1994 by the federal government.

“The VET standards were not revised or modified since then,” he said.

Mr Qazi said that the under the old NEQs, permissible limits for all three types of emissions were very lenient and many others types of pollutants were not even taken into account.

He said that VETS conducted a month long survey wherein they checked hundreds of vehicles before notifying the new standards.

“The new parameters are comprehensive and it was breakthrough to change the NEQs after a gap of about 30 years,” Mr Qazi added.

Earlier this month, a Federal Environmental Protection Agency monitoring report of the Peshawar’s air had declared the air quality in some parts of the provincial capital to be injurious to human health as the particulate matter (PM2.5) had exceeded the permissible limits there.

The report had also said that during the air quality monitoring period, PM2.5 level constantly exceeded the NEQS limit of 55.3 to 220.8 (µg/m³) at all points, especially roadside locations.

Published in Dawn, January 29th, 2022

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