UN: Used car exports from developed countries cause air pollution

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A report by the UN Environmental Programme (UNEP) published on Monday said millions of used vehicles exported from Europe, U.S. and Japan to developing world contribute significantly to air pollution.

UNEP said in the report that the exported cars, vans and minibuses are of poor quality and as a result hinder efforts to mitigate climate change, based on an in-depth analysis of 146 countries.

Inger Andersen, UNEP Executive Director said “over the years, developed countries have increasingly exported their used vehicles to developing countries.

“The lack of effective standards and regulation is resulting in the dumping of old, polluting and unsafe vehicles.’’

According to the report, between 2015 and 2018, 14 million used light-duty vehicles were exported worldwide and some 80 per cent went to low and middle-income countries, with more than half going to Africa.

UNEP is calling on developed countries to stop exporting vehicles that fail environmental and safety inspections and are no longer considered roadworthy there.

The report found that two-thirds of countries have weak or very weak policies to regulate the import of used vehicles.

Most vehicles exported from the Netherlands, for example, were between 16 and 20 years old, and most fell below EURO4 European Union vehicles emission standards.

African countries imported the largest number of used vehicles (40 per cent) in the period studied.

This is followed by countries in Eastern Europe with 24 per cent, Asia-Pacific -15 per cent, the Middle East – 12 per cent and Latin America – nine per cent.

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