PESHAWAR, July 12: Keeping in view the rapid deterioration of air quality and its impact on public health, it is needed to establish more Vehicle Emission Testing Station (VETS) to check vehicle emission, a major source of air pollution.

An official of Environment Protection Agency (EPA) told APP that there were about 135,000 registered vehicles plying in the city, besides the number of unregistered, polluting the air at an enormous rate.

About the level of air pollution, he said, owing to release of emission from all sources was estimated at around 15,406 tons per year.

Other sources of air pollution were brick kilns, domestic cooking and open frying in commercial sector, he added.

Presently, he said, their was one VETS operating in Peshawar since June 1997 and its performance in term of reducing vehicle emission and fuel consumption was satisfactory.

Functioning since 1997, the VETS Peshawar has so far checked 47,000 vehicles, 1300 official, and generated a handsome income for provincial exchequer to the tune of approximately Rs two million.

About the benefits of VETS the official quoted the disclosure of a study conducted by GTZ (German Agency for Technical Cooperation), EPA and UIEP in 2000 saying that ‘apart from playing positive role in control of vehicular pollution, VETS Peshawar is also saving a handsome amount of Rs 65 million through fuel consumption and Rs 55 million in terms of health benefit’.

The study observed that one VETS was able to save diesel and petrol worth Rs 42 million and 23 million, respectively (total 65 million), and if there were enough VETS this sav-ing could become much more in personal as well as at national level.

For reducing the level of air pollution, the official reiterated that expansion of VETS in NWFP and if possible to all major urban centres of Pakistan was necessary.

Similarly, he continued, testing and certification of all sorts of vehicles from VETS should be made mandatory.

Apart from this, an ambient air quality standards should be established and enforced on priority basis. The NEQS (National Environment Quality Standards) for motor vehicle exhaust, particularly for smoke opacity so that they can stand legal scrutiny, he said.

Legislation should be framed to establish and enforce exhaust emission standards for three wheelers, he observed.—APP