We recently reported to you a plan by Paris Mayor Bertrand Delanoe to rid the streets of Paris of older vehicles that generate more pollution. The plan, to eliminate vehicles older than 1997 from Paris, is aimed at reducing emissions and pollutants, “to make the air more breathable.” The plan goes before the ministerial council this month.
Hong Kong is now considering a similar ban, something that should have been implemented some 25 years ago. Hong Kong is constantly choked by smog and engine emissions, over 175 days of “high pollution” last year alone. Air quality standards set in the late ’80s haven’t been acted upon, leading to further pollution and over 3,000 premature deaths due to pollution alone.
One of the main culprits are the 120,000+ diesel-powered heavy vehicles, including cargo trucks and passenger buses, that run the city streets night and day. About 40% of these vehicles are compliant with an older Euro II emissions standard, but emit twelve times more pollution that modern Euro V standards. The only real solution is to replace these vehicles, but replacing older vehicles like these is much more expensive than their owners can afford.
Hong Kong’s ban on these older diesel vehicles within city limits will also be paired with government subsidies to encourage owners to upgrade to cleaner technology. Hong Kong’s police department has even eliminated fossil fuels from their fleet altogether, buying a fleet of Brammo electric motorcycles. Hong Kong’s efforts, if successful, might encourage other cities to make similar plans for cleaner transportation.