Vehicle emission testing program successful - SGS Lanka | Sunday Observer

Vehicle emission testing program successful - SGS Lanka

The vehicular emission testing program initiated in Sri Lanka in 2008, as a measure to reduce outdoor air pollution due to vehicular emissions has been internationally recognised for its successful implementation.

The program is also acknowledged for its effectiveness in keeping air pollution under control with measurements conducted by SGS Lanka (Pvt) Ltd demonstrating that the concentration of air pollutants from vehicular emissions has not increased significantly over time.

Sri Lanka has maintained better air quality by reducing the hazardous emissions from vehicles due to the testing program. Today, Sri Lankans breathe less polluted air, face fewer air-pollution-related illnesses and other health effects compared to countries in the region. This in turn has assisted in the reduction of expenses for medical treatment and lower absenteeism among workers contributing to the country’s economy and health sector.

While growth and development is a positive criteria, the reduction in air quality is known to have negative consequences not only affecting the climate but impacting many facets of our lives. A key issue for the Government and its leaders is to deal with these urban growth challenges, while offering citizens a wholesome and sustainable quality of life.

The main source of ambient air pollution in Sri Lanka is vehicular emissions, contributing to over 60% of total emissions in Colombo. With Sri Lanka’s vehicle population estimated to be over five million in 2019, emissions from the transport sector could have resulted in a significant increase of carbon monoxide concentration in major cities.

Visitors to Sri Lanka are attracted by its pristine environment and idyllic spots. Preventing widespread pollution and ensuring green surroundings for visitors and citizens to enjoy is vital. With air quality also influencing visitors’ travelling experiences, the adoption of the vehicle emission testing program in Sri Lanka has helped to increase tourist arrivals. The program has also led to an increase of output in the agricultural and fisheries industries. If air pollution is not reduced it can cause damage to plants due to soil nutrient deterioration, resulting in accumulation of toxins in the food chain, leading to damage to fish and other aquatic life in lakes and streams.

Acid rain due to pollutants released by vehicles mixed with rain also affects plants directly and decreases soil quality to reduce yields from agriculture. Thus reducing air pollution improves crop and timber yields while reducing emission from vehicles contributes to an increase in agricultural output.

By participating in the annual vehicle testing program, vehicle owners learn how vehicles contribute to the pollution problem with the realisation that testing also helps to increase engine lifespan and value of the vehicle. - Y. de Almeida