Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Tough action

Hong Kong has tried for decades to reduce the constant smog smothering one of the world’s most populated cities. Now a new initiative will ban the dirtiest diesel vehicles from the city limits while offering companies financial incentives for modernizing their delivery fleets.
The main factor for pollution is the more than 120,000 diesel-powered heavy vehicles, including delivery trucks and buses that operate in the city limits. Around 40% of these vehicles are older diesel models that comply with the Euro II model, emitting more than 12x the emissions that more modern diesel vehicles complying with the Euro V standard do.
Hong Kong plans to get companies to phase out these older diesel vehicles by offering substantial government subsidies, while banning older diesel vehicles from operating in the city limits, says a Bloomberg report. City leaders hope that threat of banning businesses from operating their fleets in Hong Kong proper, along with generous subsidies, will lead to a cleaner, greener fleet of modern diesel vehicles. Other cities, including Paris, France and London, England have experimented with ways of reducing urban congestion and pollution. While London enacted a congestion charge for downtown that exempts EV and plug-in hybrid vehicles, Paris has talked about banning older, larger, and dirtier vehicles from the city limits, though without the draconian efficiency of Hong Kong. Will Hong Kong show the way?

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