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Vehicles not conforming to new vehicle emission standards will be banned

by Florence Wickramage

Cabinet approval will be sought to completely ban the use of vehicles not conforming to the New Vehicle Emission standards already gazetted, by January 1, 2006, and to import equipment required to support the enforcement of the New Vehicle Emission Standards, Environment and Natural Resources Minister A.H.M. Fowzie said yesterday.

Minister Fowzie was addressing the inaugural session of the First National Symposium on Air Resource Management in Sri Lanka "Air That We Breathe" which began in Colombo yesterday.

The two-day symposium was organized by the Air Resource Management Center (AirMac) and Clean Air Sri Lanka and is supported by USAID/US-Asia Environmental Partnership (US-AEP).

The Minister further said that vehicle emission is one major source which pollutes the air that we breathe. "We are well aware that a lot of people who become victims of deteriorated air quality are poor and less privileged groups of the society. As such policy-makers must formulate policies to ensure their fundamental right to breathe clean air", the Minister said.

Women and children are exposed to levels of indoor air pollution that are above the safe standards and rural women and children are the most at risk. Thick acrid smoke rising from stoves and fires inside homes is associated with around 1.6 million deaths per year in developing countries.

President Sri Lanka College of Paediatricians Prof. Manouri Senanayake in her address emphasised that children were the most affected and the level of lung diseases as a result of breathing unclean air is on the increase.

The First Day's technical sessions dealt on Air Pollution and Public Health; Vehicular Air Pollution; Indoor Air Pollution; and Air Pollution, Climate Change and Ozone Layer Depletion. The second day's sessions will focus on Point and Non-Point Source Air Pollution Control; Air Monitoring, Modelling and Emission Inventory; and Policies and Economics of Air Pollution.

The inauguration session of the Symposium was also addressed by Secretary Transport Ministry Dr. D.S. Jayaweera, Additional Secretary Environment and Natural Resources Ministry A.H.N. Jayasekera, Chairman Central Environmental Authority Thilak Ranaviraja, Mission Director, USAID/Sri Lanka Dr. Carol R. Becker.

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