In a bid to control burgeoning air pollution, Nepal has taken a landmark step to ban all the vehicles that are older than 20 years.
The Government of Nepal’s decision followed a similar campaign in Kathmandu it had initiated in 2017 calling for the ban of around 5000 ages-old vehicles including trucks, buses, among others.
“After mid-March, vehicles older than 20 years will not be allowed to drive on the roads. We hope this will help reduce pollution and ease traffic across the country,” says Birendra Bahadur Swar, Spokesman, Department of Transport Management, Nepal.
While this rule exempts taxis, the officials have already banned cars in key parts of Kathmandu to address traffic congestion issues in the region.
This decision is part of Nepal Government’s five-year strategic plan by the Physical Infrastructure and Transportation Ministry proposed, on March 14, 2016, to ban old public vehicles
Under the first phase of the plan, the department has already banned 2,500 old vehicles from the Kathmandu.
As per the latest reports, the latest decision will be effective from March 15, 2018.
“Many transport entrepreneurs are involved in buying and selling second-hand vehicles. Those who made recent investment in old vehicles will go into huge loss if the government prevents them from operating,” Bijay Bahadur Swar, Senior Vice-president of Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs (FNNTE) stated earlier this year when the government had called for similar action plan.
“Scrapping old vehicles will pave way for new vehicles to operate. Better fuel efficiency of new vehicles will help entrepreneur to save fuel costs. Most importantly it will help in improving worsening environmental conditions,” says Tokraj Pandey, spokesperson for Department of Transport Management (DoTM).
The old vehicle ban policy gains significance in view of that fact that the global Environment Performance Index 2018 has named Nepal as the country in need of serious measures pollution control measures.
The global survey, jointly conducted by Yale University and Columbia University in collaboration with the World Economic Forum, placed Nepal at the bottom among 180 countries in terms of air quality.
The EPI report assessed the countries by 24 indicators across 10 categories including ecosystem vitality and environmental health., which further includes water, sanitation and exposure to heavy metals as key elements.
The global report saw majority of African and Asian countries at the low positions in terms of poor air quality.
“Low scores on the EPI are indicative of the need for national sustainability efforts on a number of fronts, especially cleaning up air quality, protecting biodiversity, and reducing GHG emissions. These metrics provide a gauge at a national scale of how close countries are to established environmental policy goals,” noted the report.