Un pas dans la bonne direction: Un Nouveau-
Brunswick libre de smog (brumée)

L’Association pulmonaire du Nouveau-
Brunswick a effectuée une étude intitulée "Smog Free New-Brunswick Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Development Project" (Projet de développement d’inspections et d’entretien de véhicules pour un Nouveau-
Brunswick libre de smog) afin d’examiner les développements récents reliés aux programmes de réduction des émissions de véhicule et comment il serait possible de s’en servir dans la province. 

Les émissions des véhicules représentent environ 50 % des émissions atmosphériques au Nouveau-
Brunswick.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

                      

Emissions Impossible....
Environmentally Friendly Volunteers
Wanted


The New Brunswick Lung Association will be holding a 
No Fee, No Fines Vehicle Emissions Testing Clinics. The Association is looking for
environmentally friendly volunteers to act as greeters at the clinics
Show you care about clean air
For more information, please contact Laura Norcott at 1-800-
561-LUNG

Smog Free New Brunswick
A Step in the Right Direction

   Alison Howells
   NB Lung Association
   February 2000

 

herever its location, and whether visible or not, poor air quality is hazardous to the environment and human health. The largest single source of poor air quality is vehicle emissions. Automotive emissions account for approximately 50% of the air emissions in New Brunswick, especially in urban areas.


(photo: NB Lung Association)

"Pollution from vehicles can contain fine particles and over 1,000 contaminants, and contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone and smog," says Kenneth Maybee, President and CEO of the New Brunswick Lung Association. "These pollutants are the cause of a variety of health and environ- mental problems, as well as contributing to vegetation damage and reduced visibility."

For gasoline-fueled vehicles, the pollutants of greatest concern are carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, volatile organic com- pounds, particulate matter and toxics, such as benzene. For diesel-fueled vehicles, the most hazardous pollutants are emissions of sulphur oxides, nitrogen oxides, acid aerosols and particulate matter (PM).

The various constituents of vehicle exhaust, and their photochemical products, are known to either cause or exacerbate a number of ailments in humans. Adverse health symptoms have been observed even at low levels of atmospheric pollution. Increasing levels of pollutants have been shown to increase: asthma symptom days; chronic bronchitis; respiratory hospital admissions; cardiac hospital admissions; emergency room visits; acute respiratory symptoms; restricted activity days; and increases in mortality rates.

"However, the bottom line is that vehicle emissions can be reduced by following the manufacturer’s recommended maintenance schedule; ensuring vehicle maintenance is performed and upheld, and having one’s vehicle serviced as soon as sudden differences in fuel mileage or engine performance is noticed," says Maybee. "Unfortunately, these actions are the ideal and not necessarily the norm."

To place the spotlight on vehicle emissions and their detrimental effect on air quality and human health, the New Brunswick Lung Association was asked in 1997 by the New Brunswick Department of Environment to conduct a year long study called the Smog Free New Brunswick Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Development Project to investigate the latest developments regarding vehicle emission reduction programs and how they could possibly be applied in the province. That report was submitted to the province in July 1998. (Summary reports are available from the New Brunswick Lung Association upon request).


(photo: NB Lung Association)

"The overall goal of the Smog Free New Brunswick Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Development Project is the development and design of a vehicle emissions reduction program tailored to meet the needs of New Brunswickers that will effectively contribute to the improvement of the overall air quality in the province," he stresses.

The Project’s Final Report presents the results of the Steering Committee’s investigations along with their recommendations regarding options for the province. The final report of Phase One of the project makes clear recommendations for supporting the requirements for:

  The development of a voluntary vehicle emissions program for Saint John or the Saint John-Moncton corridor.

  The enactment of anti-tampering legislation.

  The development of a pro-active, province-wide communications, education and awareness campaign directed at both the public and the automotive repair industry in support of vehicle maintenance, green transportation initiatives and anti-tampering legislation.

These recommendations would be carried out in several phases. The next phase of the project would involve the research, development, test piloting, evaluation and delivery of a province-wide awareness, education and communications campaign. This campaign would be geared toward both the general public and the automotive industry.

This phase would also involve the research, develop, test pilot and evaluation of the strategy and materials necessary for the delivery of a voluntary vehicle inspection program in the Saint John - Moncton area in Phase Three of the project.

The focus of the communication, education and awareness campaign would be to develop a pro-active, province-wide campaign geared to both the public and to those in the automotive repair industry to support and promote positive actions people can take toward the reduction of air pollutants, and greenhouse gases in particular, and anti-tampering legislation. The campaign would promote the wide variety of activities citizens can do to combat climate change, with the major focus of the campaign being the need for proper maintenance of a vehicle’s pollution control devices, and to drive home the benefits of anti-tampering legislation in the fight to reduce the effects of climate change.

"The strategies that will be used will highlight the myths that presently exist, for example, if I remove or disconnect a pollution control device, I will save on gas - nothing could be farther from the truth," says Maybee. "The main theme of this next phase of the project is that as citizens we all have a role to play vis-a-vis the upkeep of our personal motor vehicles in helping to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, and improve climate change and air quality in general."

Communications with and the education of automotive industry partners is also an essential ingredient of a successful program. The project’s steering committee stressed the need for good information, better education and an awareness campaign that will ensure industry understanding, support and buy-in.

New Brunswick has an advantage over most of the other provinces in that, because of its annual Safety Inspection requirement, it has legislation and enforcement in place that should make the transition to some form of Inspection and Maintenance program much easier than for most other provinces. It appears that a visual inspection Anti-Tampering Program could be added to the existing Safety Inspection system with little additional burden to the local service and repair industry. Anti-tam- pering legislation enforces the requirement to check and verify the existence of a vehicle’s pollution control devices.

(photo: NB Lung Association)
Anti-tampering legislation would be one tool for highlighting consumer and industry responsibility for improving air quality and reducing greenhouse gases. Of the nine voluntary vehicle clinics that the New Brunswick Lung Association has hosted, results indicate that on average 
that 15% of the vehicles have been tampered with. Due to the voluntary nature of the clinics, it is believed that the actual tampering rate of the vehicle fleet is much higher.

Another component of the next phase of the project involves laying the groundwork for the project’s implementation phase - the actual running of a voluntary vehicle inspection program. The implementation phase would encourage motorists in Saint John or the Saint John-Moncton corridor to get a free vehicle emissions test at participating automotive centres during a designated time period. These tests would involve the actual testing of emissions, unlike an annual inspection which involved only a visual inspection of pollution control devices.

With the test, program participants would receive a copy of their emissions readings; a brochure about reducing vehicle emissions and other actions they can take to reduce greenhouse gases; and an "I Drive SMOG FREE" window sticker if their emissions are within the established guidelines. (Smog Free stands for "Save Money on Gas - From Reduced Exhaust Emissions".)


(photo: Sean Phinney)

"As value added, throughout the next phases of this project, the New Brunswick Lung Association will continue to host voluntary vehicle inspection clinics to maintain the public’s attention on vehicle emissions, their effect on climate change and individual responsibility for improving air quality," explains Maybee. Clinics will be held this year, one to be held in Fredericton and another is scheduled to be held in Saint John.  Remember,

"When You Can’t Breathe, Nothing Else Matters"