Vietnam is considering a plan to test motorbike emissions in its five largest cities after tests found the vehicle has become a major polluter.
Vietnam Register, which checks vehicle quality, has urged the Ministry of Transport to test around 23 million motorbikes in Can Tho, Da Nang, Ha Noi, Hai Phong, and Ho Chi Minh City.
The number of vehicles in these cities accounts for half the country’s total.
The tests are expected to start in July 2018. Older bikes will be tested first -- and each will be tested every two years – for a fee of VND100,000-150,000 (US$4.5-7).
A similar plan was made in 2010, but it has remained on paper.
Vietnam Register is pushing for action again after recent tests found that vehicles are responsible for 70-90 percent of urban air pollution, and motorbikes are the biggest culprits.
Official figures show that 95 percent of vehicles on Vietnamese streets are motorbikes.
In the country’s biggest cities, Hanoi and HCMC, nearly 12 million motorbikes account for 94 percent of hydrocarbon emissions, 87 percent of the toxic carbon monoxide, and nearly 60 percent of nitrogen oxide.
Motorbikes that fail the emission tests will have to go through maintenance. Drivers who avoid the tests will be fined.
Vietnam Register suggested that to make the plan feasible the fee should not be collected directly from motorbike owners, most of whom are low- and middle-income people.
Instead, the money collected as environment protection tax on gasoline should be used, it said.
At VND3,000 per liter of gasoline, a motorbike driver pays an average of VND480,000 a year, it said.