A specialized roadside system will test diesel pollution from trucks, buses and other heavy-duty vehicles over the next three months to help guide future initiatives to curb emissions.
Infrared and ultraviolet beams from a parked test trailer pass through the exhaust plume of heavy trucks as they pass and data is read by a detector across the road.
The province’s AirCare program is slated to be dismantled for regular vehicles by the end of 2014, but the government held out the possibility it may be replaced by a bolstered program targeting truck pollution, which currently is subject to only mobile tests through the AirCare On Road program.
“This study is a good first step to help us gain better understanding of diesel emissions from the transportation sector in the Lower Mainland, and is consistent with AirCare commitments made by the province,” Environment Minister Terry Lake said.
“The results will help us develop options for reducing diesel emissions in the region moving forward.”
Emissions of soot, or fine diesel particulate, are estimated to be responsible for two-thirds of the lifetime cancer risk from air pollution in Metro Vancouver.
Metro Vancouver, which is responsible for air quality in the region, has also begun a non-road diesel emission reduction program, which will charge fees on older heavily polluting machinery, such as excavators and forklifts, while offering owners incentives to upgrade or replace them.
“Now it’s time to find ways to reduce emissions from on-road vehicles too,” said Metro environment committee chair Heather Deal. “These trucks and buses travel through our communities, close to places where we live, work and play.”
The province is a partner with Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Regional District and Port Metro Vancouver in the new roadside emission test program, slated to cost $130,000.