• Tue
  • Dec 30, 2014
  • Updated: 12:47am

Drivers cannot afford cleaner trucks

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 30 October, 2012, 3:03am

Despite massive reductions in the emission of major air pollutants by power plants, roadside pollution has worsened as vehicles and ships crank out more nitrogen oxides and sulphur dioxide than they ever have before.

One of the main culprits is the huge numbers of old, diesel-powered trucks that are still being used in our city.

These trucks fit the Euro II emission standards that were introduced more than a decade ago, and they give off much more pollutants than their costlier, cleaner substitute models.

The reason that so many of these outdated trucks are still around is that their owners can't afford to get a new one.

Truck drivers aren't exactly in the upper strata, and the rising cost of living means that they have even less disposable income.

Whether or not their vehicles produce harmful pollutants that damage living standards for Hong Kong citizens is the least of their concerns.

While tougher licensing would obviously reduce the number of trucks on the road, such a measure is nothing but simply sweeping the problem under the carpet.

The real issue that needs to be dealt with is the fact that we still have obsolete vehicles on our roads, even though better models are readily available for purchase.

We need those trucks gone for good, and having the owners replace them is a sure solution.

The only thing that is preventing that from happening is that drivers don't have the funds to get a new truck.

A subsidy will solve this problem, but the actual subsidy itself must be carefully calculated and assessed so that it does not interfere too much in the free market.

We need to provide these people with whatever they need to replace their trucks, if we are to have any chance of losing our reputation as a "polluted wasteland".

William McCorkindale, Ma On Shan


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This article is now closed to comments

HK Government can easily start with the 2 major Bus Franchises (less people to deal with). Make each Bus Franchise replace 50 old busses with Electrical or low emission busses (at their own cost). As a reward the HK government can give them an additional 50 electric busses for free. That would take 200 highly polluting busses of the road each year. I can’t see HK people complaining about cleaner busses.
In regard to getting old trucks off the road it would be as easy as offering rebates to those using trucks that are low polluting types. Help pay insurance, raise yearly rates, offer them 1 year free parking within HK. Add additional tariffs to polluting trucks. You don’t necessary need to subsidize new trucks but rather create the carrot / stick and people will see the advantage to changing.
HK Gov must not "provide these people with whatever they need to replace their trucks" as suggested by McCorkindale. The Gov ought to invest in more R&D on the conversion of vehicles into electric drives. HKPC & APAS has done some work, but Transport Department had blocked any attempts to get converted EVs onto our public roads, with stupid unreasonable demands. My suggestion for turning dirty trucks to zero emission electric trucks is the most environmentally friendly way forward. Even though this will not provide profits to established motor dealers, and will only create alot of local jobs in small garages.


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