The Environmental Protection Administration announced a "Metropolitan Air Pollutant Reduction and Removal Initiative" yesterday in a bid to decrease the level of atmospheric pollution from vehicle emissions in Taipei, Taichung, and Kaohsiung cities.
According to the plan, the government will designate more bicycle lanes, increase production of liquefied petroleum cars to 18,000, add 12 more stations for natural gas refueling, and promote the use of hybrid cars and the eventual elimination all 2-cycle engine motorcycles.
Citing Taipei as an example, EPA representatives said that the main cause of air pollution is high emissions of carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxide, and non-methane hydrocarbon, all of which are emitted by automobiles.
The EPA said that the plan will go into effect for the period 2006 to 2008, with the goal of reducing air pollution in the three cities by 30 percent.
Under the initiative, the government will also push for the use of more efficient and cleaner fuels such as bio-diesel and gasohol to reduce carbon monoxide emissions.
The EPA noted although motor vehicles provides convenient transportation for many people, the smog and the exhaust fumes from cars and motorcycles have greatly endangered public health in Taiwan.
In a press release, the EPA said that improving the air quality is the responsibility of every resident in the country, and it urged that people use the public transportation system more frequently, buy environmentally friendly cars, and properly maintain their personal vehicles by adhering to a regular inspection schedule.
In addition the new initiative, the EPA has also implemented a comprehensive motorcycle emissions testing system and is offering subsidies to promote the elimination of older, heavily polluting vehicles in order to reduce air polluting emissions.
With over eight million motorbikes in Taiwan, the system also calls for regular and compulsory inspections and requires owners to repair vehicles that do not pass the tests. Owners of motorbikes that fail random roadside inspections will be fined.