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Motorists face new emissions tests during annual inspection

EPA to provide free checkups – Polluting vehicles may be seized

KUWAIT: From June, vehicles producing polluting emissions will be sanctioned and may even be seized by the police. A ministerial decree on emissions was issued last year, which will go into effect on June 17, 2018. Meanwhile, the Environment Public Authority (EPA) is readying awareness campaigns for drivers to check their vehicles. “This will give a chance to motorists to fix their cars before the law is enforced, so they will be ready and avoid fines. We began by checking the vehicles of EPA officials, and will start free checks for the public soon,” Ayman Bujbara, Director of the Air Quality Department at EPA, told Kuwait Times.

The inspections are free of charge and will be available at various locations. “We have received approval already for some locations and we are awaiting others. Our first location will be the Alfa fuel station in Shuwaikh. We will also provide this service at some shopping malls in different areas, which will be announced later,” he added.

Based on this test, the motorist will learn about any problem in their vehicle and fix it. “This test, for instance, will measure the percentage of carbon dioxide compared to oxygen, and if the CO2 is higher than the limits, this means it needs to be fixed. This is an easy procedure, as usually vehicles from 2004 onwards have a three-way catalytic converter, which filters polluting gases produced after fuel is burned. Some drivers remove it when it breaks down instead of fixing it, as it’s cheaper. When it’s missing, the vehicle will pollute, which is a violation. Many people don’t know the function of this converter, so they just remove it,” explained Bujbara.

EPA is in charge of issuing the law, and the interior ministry is in charge of applying it. “Police officers have the power to penalize violating vehicles that are producing emissions and polluting the environment. They will issue fines to violating vehicles on the roads as well as during checks,” he noted.

Some emissions may not be visible. “This was the reason behind issuing this law, as in the past officers at the technical inspection departments used to judge the vehicle depending on the smoke produced, but this is not enough. Some emissions are not visible, so professional machines certified by the US Environment Protection Agency or the European Environment Agency should be used,” concluded Bujbara.

Lt Gen Khaled Al-Adwani, Secretary General of the Supreme Traffic Council and Head of the Technical Office of the Assistant Undersecretary at the Traffic Department said that this law will be applied from June 17. “All technical inspection departments will be ready to measure emissions as part of the technical checkup. No additional fees will be charged,” he said.
Special offices of environment police officers and EPA technicians will be located at the technical inspection departments. “These officers and technicians will measure emissions as they are specialized. Our police officers are already experienced in flagging regular violations by vehicles producing smoke and they also penalize them, but now they will start operating the machines for precise measurements,” Adwani added.

Violating vehicles will be given a grace period for repairs. “The new law is stricter, with higher fines. Violating motorists won’t be given regular tickets for producing smoke, but will face higher fines from the environment police that may even reach KD 1,000. We will give a period of 10 days to violating motorists to fix their vehicles and return to complete the technical inspection. If they don’t comply, their vehicles may even be seized,” Adwani warned.

By Nawara Fattahova

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