Pakistan has not yet set up a testing laboratory or put in place a mechanism to certify locally-assembled vehicles despite adopting the Euro-II emission standards in 2012.
The emission standards call for a check on maximum permissible limits for two and three wheelers and measuring method for smoke, carbon monoxide and noise.
After the 18th constitutional amendment, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Pakistan Standard Quality Control Authority (PSQCA) seem to be at loggerheads over the jurisdiction of monitoring and implementing the standards in the country.
According to the Engineering Development Board (EDB) over 125 companies produce around 2.2 million motorcycles while 25 firms produce thousands of auto-rickshaw annually.
“In the absence of a centralised mechanism, the number of unauthorised and untested two and three wheelers goes higher and higher with each passing day,” an official at the EDB told The Express Tribune requesting not to be named.
“The manufacturing goes on unchecked with most vehicles having same engine and chassis numbers, whether they are developed in the same province or outside,” the official said.
“A large number of locally manufactured/assembled vehicles carrying Euro-II emission standards emblems rollout on the roads without actually having authentic certificates,” EPA’s Environment Director Ziaul Islam said.
“The EDB has issued revalidation certificates to around 79 two and three-wheel manufacturers and the EPA had asked them to submit compliance certificates issued either by the original equipment manufacturer (OEM) or the supplier of the engine block, and only 15 manufacturers have submitted certificates that too photo copies,” he said.
“Most of the certificates have not been certified by accredited laboratories,” Islam said.
“Since every manufacturer cannot install expensive equipment at their plants as it needs a sizable investment, it was agreed upon between the manufacturers and the implementing agencies that the former will submit the OEM certificates to the EPA to overcome the problem of making sure emission standards in the absence of an accredited testing lab in the country,” the official said.
“The credibility of certificates submitted by the manufacturers is doubtful as they do not indicate that the labs that have issued these certificates are certified by the International Standard Organisation-17025,” Islam said.
“It was the mandate of the EPA and the PSQCA to ensure the Euro-II compliance and the EPA should take action against the manufacturers who fail to comply with the standards,” the official suggested.
The PSQCA recently held a meeting with two and three-wheel manufacturers of Sindh, but without inviting the EPA to the gathering.
When the EPA raised objection saying since environmental-related subjects come under its domain and it should have been invited to the meeting, the PSQCA replied that after the 18th amendment, environmental issues have been devolved to provinces and the EPA has no role in such matters.
The European Union introduced the Euro-II standards in 2000 in a bid to curtail presence of smoke and other dangerous gases in the atmosphere.
Though the emission standards were adopted in July 2012, the non-compliance by the local manufacturers raises serious questions about its efficacy amid their revalidation by the EDB without taking into account the emission standards set by the EPA.
Recently, the EPA wrote a letter to the EDB to ensure the evaluation process and compliance of emission standards by the manufacturers.
In January, the EPA had asked the EDB to convene a meeting of all stakeholders to address the issue. But the board has neither convened a meeting nor clarified the reasons behind the delay.
Islam said, however, that most of the makers of four-wheelers run on petrol are meeting the Euro-II emission standards.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 18th, 2015.
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