Jan 18, 2021 / 08:55

Vietnam plans to scrap old vehicles over pollution concerns

The Hanoitimes - Scientists have pointed out that dilapidated vehicles discharge toxic gas some times higher than those in good conditions.

Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment (MONRE) has asked Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to withdraw dilapidated vehicles that fail to meet standards for transport and cause environmental pollution.

Vehicle circulation is proved to be one of reasons including dust from construction activities and industrial activities causing air pollution.

 Hanoi now has more than 5.7 million motorbikes, of which about 2.5 million were registered before 2000. Photo: Pham Hung

Scientists have pointed out that dilapidated vehicles discharge toxic gas some times higher than those in good conditions.

The ministry’s suggestion has prompted both support and disagreement.

Mr. Nguyen Van Phuong, the deputy director of Motor Vehicle Certification Department under the Vietnam Register, said technical barriers are needed to control emission level rather than regulation on durable years of vehicles.

"It will be difficult to revoke dilapidated motorbikes," he said.

"As for cars, we just have regulations that the police will withdraw the vehicle owners' registration certificate and number, while the Vietnam Register will not grant vehicle certification to prevent the out-of-date cars running on roads," Mr. Phuong said.

Phasing out of old vehicles is a right policy that has been applied in many countries but choosing ways to recycle them remains a problem, Director of Institute of Environment and Resources Le Thanh Hai said.

To make the plan possible, MONRE’s representatives said it’s more economical to encourage people to voluntarily remove dilapidated vehicles.

This idea will be a premise for localities to develop appropriate and feasible scientific plans and roadmaps to phase out that kind of vehicles.

Which plan is suitable?

While the MONRE states that the proposal is a prerequisite for a plan to phase out dilapidated vehicles, there remain doubts about the feasibility and legality.

 Experts said it is necessary to build a legal framework and a roadmap to phase out old vehicles,. Photo: Hoang Giang

According to lawyer Bui Dinh Ung from the Hanoi Lawyers Association, although Law on Road Traffic 2008 stipulates the ban on vehicles that fail to meet technical safety and environmental protection, this regulation alone is not legal enough to make withdraw old vehicles.

Transport expert Bui Danh Lien, former chairman of the Hanoi Transport Association, supported the suggestion but he warned that the move might cause negative social impacts, especially on people’s livelihood. Most of the old vehicles are now owned by low-income and poor people. For them, this is not only a means of transportation but also to make a living, he added.

In September 2020, Hanoi planned to subsidize the replacement of dilapidated motorcycles.

Under the plan, owners of motorcycles of over 18 years and no longer meet the emission standards can be subsidized to replace their vehicles for new ones.

Old motorcycles, after being traded for new ones, will be scrapped by the manufacturers and suppliers in accordance with regulations, and would never be reused.

According to statistics by the Hanoi Department of Transport, Hanoi now has more than 5.7 million motorbikes, of which about 2.5 million were registered before 2000, in addition to millions of motorbikes from other provinces.

Representatives of the Hanoi Department of Natural Resources and Environment said that the program, if conducted, would contribute to raising people's awareness of the impact of motorcycle emissions on the environment and health.