Junkyards Get Ready for Decrepit Cabs

Junkyards Get Ready for Decrepit Cabs Junkyards Get Ready for Decrepit Cabs

The government is set to begin decommissioning old vehicles in Iran’s public transportation fleet from next week, an official at the Department of Environment said on Saturday.

“The first phase of the scheme, which will start next week, includes removing 90,000 decrepit taxis from the roads across the country,” Saeed Motessadi, deputy for human habitats, was quoted as saying by IRNA.

Old buses, vans and minibuses, as well as motorcycles using carburetor engines will be removed in the next phase, whose date is not yet known.

The country’s public transportation fleet is littered with poorly-maintained, substandard vehicles that are way past their service life. Some of the buses are the worst polluters, both in the intra-city sector and those owned by factories and state-owned organizations to transport staff.

“These vehicles produce between five and 10 times the pollution standard cars emit,” he said.

Cars emit nitrogen oxides (NOx), carbon monoxide (CO), particulate matter (PM), volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and smaller amounts of other pollutants such as sulfur dioxide (SO2) and ammonia (NH3).

Motessadi said the DOE is actively cooperating with relevant bodies, including the Management and Planning Organization (MPO), to enforce the scheme and ensure its quick  implementation. It is believed that municipalities will be tasked with enforcing the scheme.

He said “automakers will also help implement” the long-awaited program, but did not say in what capacity.

Emphasizing the government’s commitment to curbing air pollution, the official said “a record” 350,000 old vehicles were taken off the roads during the last Iranian year (March 2014-15).

 Easy Loans

The administration issued a directive in April 2014 which calls for a complete overhaul and renovation of the public transportation fleet, Motessadi said. “We’ve proposed several methods, such as low-interest loans, to help cabbies purchase new vehicles.”

On Thursday, Tehran Municipality announced that it is offering easy loans at the same 16-18% interest rate as the auto loans offered by the government last November.

Foreign automakers, including Japanese and Chinese companies that specialize in hybrid vehicles, have expressed interest to expand their businesses in Iran, and Motessadi believes that can be good for the country.

“I hope [the carmakers] can reach an agreement with Iranian banks and the MPO.”

According to DOE chief, Massoumeh Ebtekar, air pollution affects 35 million people in Iran — a little less than half the total population.

With 80,000 annual pollution-related deaths every year, Iran is a top-five country in terms of air pollution mortality.

In Tehran, where clunkers are said to be responsible for 80% of the air pollution, one person dies every two hours due to dangerously high concentrations of air pollutants.

Taxis, which hardly account for 2% of the public transportation fleet in the capital, contribute a whopping 18% to the air pollution.