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Friday, 16 March 2012

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CEA designs clean air project

The Central Environmental Authority (CEA) has designed an integrated air quality management project, "Blue Sky 2020", to ensure clean air for the next generation, CEA Chairman Charitha Herath told the Daily News yesterday.

He said that the project would be launched by the end of this year. President Mahinda Rajapaksa has directed the treasury to make a special financial allocation of Rs 120 million for the project.

The project's objective is to manage the ambient air quality of the country. Sri Lanka is placed on level one in the WHO air pollution rankings. Through this project, it is expected to reach WHO interim target three by 2020.

The air pollution triggered by the transport sector is expected to be doubled by 2020, making the target of "Blue Sky 2020" a challenging task.

The transport sector accounts for more than half of the emission percentage with power plants and industries taking the second and third places.

Among vehicles, three wheelers and motor cycles are the worst air polluters. About 500,000 vehicles were newly registered last year. According to the present trend, a 10 percent increase is expected in the vehicle fleet annually. Statistics have revealed that 65 percent of urban air pollution has been caused by vehicle emissions.

The chairman also said that the Vehicle Emission Test programme would also be monitored under the project with the coordination of the Motor Traffic Department and Measurement Units, Standards and Services Department. He said that spot raids and auditing of VET centres would be carried out to overcome shortcomings of the programme.

He said air pollution hot spots would be identified and an air quality monitoring network would be established covering major cities with Air Quality Display Boards to make the public aware of the air quality.

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