Towards the end of this year, vehicle testing will go beyond physical condition of vehicles and would focus on exhaust fumes, the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Authority (DVLA) has said.
Chief Executive of the DVLA, Kwasi Agyemang Busia, says the shift from the physical condition of vehicles to their exhaust fumes is meant to reduce vehicular smoke in line with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Act of 1994.
The EPA has developed guidelines for motor emissions and is in the process of transforming the guidelines into national standards.
The move by the DVLA is also to ensure fuel emissions by all vehicles and other motor equipment are within acceptable standards for public health and safety.
Officials of the DVLA say they are collaborating with the EPA and National Petroleum Authority (NPA) on the initiative as part of the transformation and to ensure proper regulation of emissions in the country.
Mr Agyemang Busia says vehicles which fail to meet set standards will be denied roadworthy certificates.
“There will be mandatory motor emissions tests as part of roadworthiness certification so that vehicles which did not meet the motor emissions standards would not be issued with Road Worthy Certificates,” he said.
Already, trials of the initiative were done in 2014 to ascertain the viability of new exhaust emission standards.
More than one million vehicles of all types have been imported into the country between 2005 and 2016, according to data obtained from the customs division of the Ghana Revenue Authority.
80 per cent of these vehicles were second-hand vehicles, with obsolete technology and whose carbon dioxide emissions and fuel consumption pose a danger to the environment.
The International Energy Agency has revealed that the worldwide transport sector accounts for about 50 per cent of world energy consumption, while transport consumes 25 per cent of the world’s energy with 80 per cent for fossil fuels.
The transport sector was known to have the fastest growth rate of greenhouse emissions which was about 2.5 per cent per year until 2020.
Industry players have often complained that the non-existence of standards to control vehicular emissions would lead to continued and increased emission pollution from vehicles with accompanying adverse consequences for human health and the environment.
Environmentalists, however, indicate that reducing emission pollution would lead to improvement in fuel quality would result in improved air quality.
Consolidating previous efforts
Mr Agyemang Busia adds that vehicular emission standard would have to be enforced with existing traffic laws and regulations.
This forms part of the evolving capacity building of the EPA to ensure sound management of the environment and in part, respond to Ghana’s commitment under the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) to provide mechanisms to reduce carbon emissions.
It is also part of the strategy of the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions (NAMAs) to help Ghana mitigate the impact of climate change on citizens.
Officials have said that vehicles that do not pass the emission test in Ghana would be assisted to get the right standards and that a Low Carbon Development Strategy (LCDS) would help Ghana quantify emission of Green House Gases per the key sectors.
Former Deputy Minister of Environment, Science, Technology and Innovation (MESTI) during the erstwhile government, Dr. Bernice Adiku Heloo, in 2013 said, “we cannot relent now or in the future in our effort to mobilize all resources to address climate change challenges and equip local communities with the capacity to be resilient to climate change,”
She said this during a workshop organised to educate participants on the Nationally Appropriate Mitigation Actions under a project, “Facilitating Implementation and Readiness for Mitigation (FIRM) supported by the United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP).
The FIRM project aimed at strengthening national capacities to formulate low carbon development strategies and identify mitigation opportunities within the context of national sustainable development priorities and the evolving concept of NAMAs.
The Deputy Minister said Ghana was committed to pursuing development options that would not increase its emission levels hence the NAMAs and the LCDs.
Amidst the vehicle emission testing initiative, the government introduced the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project which is supposed to be an environmentally sustainable mode of transport.
Former Chief Executive Officer of the Centre for Urban Transportation, Bernard Abeiku Arthur, said at a workshop in 2013, that one of the objectives of introducing the BRT was to promote a shift to a more environmentally sustainable transport mode with lower emissions.
BRT is a project that seeks to improve mobility within the urban centres by encouraging people to park their personal cars and use public buses while promoting environmental sustainable transport mode.