The B.C. government recognized international Clean Air Day by introducing new regulations to make clean air technology mandatory for older commercial transport diesel vehicles, reducing emissions and particulate.
Trucks over 5,000 kilograms or more will require the installation of Diesel Oxidation Catalyst (DOC) filters or comparative technology by 2009, at a cost of $1,200 to $2,500 per vehicle. Approximately 7,500 vehicles, dated 1989 to 1993, will be affected.
According to studies, those trucks are responsible for roughly 6.8 per cent, or 60 tonnes per year, of all particulate matter pollution released in the province.
“A 1989-93 heavy duty diesel vehicle can emit up to 60 times the particulate matter of a newer model,” said Guff Muench, president of Cummins Western Canada. “DOC filters reduce emissions by 25 to 50 per cent, depending on the type of diesel used and on the engine’s age and characteristics.”
Air pollution is thought to contribute to as many as 250 deaths a year in the province, while costing health care roughly $85 million annually.
Once the program is in place, the B.C. government will consult with industry and other stakeholders to look at adding other models, sizes and years of vehicles to the list requiring DOC filters.
B.C. is the first jurisdiction in North America to make a retrofit of older trucks mandatory, although California is currently looking at a similar system for 2009 as well.