Vietnam’s Sea of Motorbikes to Face Stricter Emissions Standards

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SaigonTo a first-time visitor to Vietnam, the flood of motorbikes on the roads is overwhelming. In most countries, the majority of vehicles have four wheels, and there’s a smattering of motorcycles. In Vietnam, it’s flipped around — the roads are jammed mostly with motorcycles and scooters, and the Vietnamese are very inventive about carrying huge objects on motorbikes that wouldn’t even fit into a car.

But all this two-wheeled traffic fosters ample congestion and filthy air. According to Green Futures Magazine, Vietnam’s government is taking action by imposing stricter emissions standards beginning in 2017 for all new motorbikes. The new regulations also call for hundreds of new emissions test centers throughout the country.

To supplement the effort, additional metro and light rail or monorail lines will be built in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh, which also has invested in buses that run on compressed natural gas, the article says. But will these steps be enough for a traffic problem that’s already acute, or will people hang onto their older motorbikes longer than planned?

The article acknowledges that compliance won’t be easy:

“Vietnam’s plans for clean public transport and cleaner motorised vehicles are ambitious and will be difficult to enforce”, says Koos Neefjes, Policy Advisor on Climate Change for the United Nations Development Programme.

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