KIGALI (Xinhua) – Rwandan motorists have expressed fear as motor vehicles running on petroleum products that pollute the environment by emissions will no longer be allowed on Rwandan roads effective this month.
The move, which was announced last year by the Rwanda Environment Management Authority (Rema), following a prime minister’s order meant to curb air pollution caused by vehicular emissions has left people in fear of their vehicles.
Jean Claude Karasira, a taxi driver operating in the Capital Kigali told Xinhua on Sunday that, his vehicle is in poor state and he would soon lose it if it goes for emissions testing.
“The government should at least gives us a period of six months as we look for money to buy brand new cars. This is very challenging for me because my car is a breadwinner for my family,” he said.
The order gave motorists 12 months to ensure compliance before emission testing on motor vehicles but they are not willing to comply, which would bring tough measures upon them.
The grace period elapses in January and will require that all vehicles undergo a testing process where noncompliant vehicles will not be granted the technical inspection certificate.
The testing is spearheaded by the Rwanda National Police (RNP) in partnership with Rema authorities.
Rose Mukankomeje, director general of Rema told Xinhua that motorists should rush to have their vehicles checked because those not complying will penalized heavily.
“We want Rwandans to live in an environment that is carbon emissions free. We want to have a healthy nation and this will be done with concerted effort towards curbing down pollutants,” she emphasized.
Mukankomeje stated that commercial vehicles shall undergo emission inspection every six months for emission standards compliance while passenger vehicles shall be inspected once a year.
She noted that for a vehicle to be compliant, it doesn’t have to be new; but proper maintenance and use of the correct fuels.
The gas emission tester is an electronic device that measures the gas levels of any machine.
The order stipulates that any vehicle that does not meet minimum emissions standards shall not be authorised to operate in Rwanda.
It authorises traffic police officers to stop any vehicle and conduct a spot verification of emissions.
Theogene Rugerero, a bus driver said that many public drivers are going to be jobless since many of the public vehicles are in sorry state and always emit gases that pollute the environment.
“We have been caught off-guard because this is quite challenging. More time is needed to prepare us to look for well maintained vehicles. Twelve months were not enough,” he said.
According to Rema, upon inspection, any vehicle which does not meet emissions standards shall be impounded or the owner will have to pay a monetary fine yet to be established.
A research conducted by Rema in 2011 showed that the country faces a problem of air pollution caused by vehicular emissions resulting from poor maintenance and use of second hand vehicles, adulteration of fuel products, and improper traffic management systems.