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February 1st, 2008:

Smog Trap Considered

Cheung Chi-fai – Feb 01, 2008

The government plans to launch a public consultation this month on detecting vehicle pollution using a remote sensing device, the environment chief said.

The device, which emits an infrared beam to measure pollutant levels, is mobile and can be deployed like a speed-detection camera. Vehicles found exceeding emission standards may face inspection.

The consultation would be launched after the Lunar New Year, said Anissa Wong Sean-yee, director of environmental protection.

“Private cars require regular maintenance to keep their emissions up to standard,” she told a forum yesterday. “We plan to use infrared devices to monitor the emissions.”

The new detection scheme for private petrol cars and LPG taxis is expected to be introduced by the end of this year at the earliest.

It is almost impossible to detect “black smoke” from petrol and LPG cars, which emit gaseous pollutants or fine particles that are not easily visible. In trial runs of the device, it was estimated that about 5 per cent of petrol and LPG vehicles had above-average emissions, officials said.