HCMC: specific legal framework needed for implementing motorbike emission checks


Hồ Chí Minh City (HCMC) faces several challenges in conducting emission control for motorized vehicles to improve environmental quality.

Presently, HCMC has over 7.6 million motorbikes, 68% of which have been in use for more than 10 years. Emissions of carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon from motorbikes account for 90% of the total emission from motorized vehicles. Between May and September, the city´s Department of Transport (DOT) has piloted a motorbike emission check program.  Accordingly, the majority of nearly 10,000 motorbikes checked did not meet the emission requirements. Based on this, the DOT proposed the city a plan to control motorbike emissions based on areas (first in the center) and years of use. Specific control measures include periodic inspections, maintenance, phasing out old and outdated motorbikes which do not comply with environmental standards, and support in changing transport means. However, it lacks specific legal regulations to carry out this plan. First, the plan has to be approved by the Government to be applied widely. Second, specific standards, inspection schedule, management method, ways of rate and fee collection must be concrete. Third, it needs full regulations on violation punishment, duties and rights of motorcycle emission control units, said Bùi Hòa An, deputy director of DOT. Fourth, there are no legal regulations stipulating expiration dates and periodic inspection for motorbikes. The Law on Road Traffic 2008 also does not require checking motorcycle emissions. Another barrier is the consensus of people for implementing the inspection because millions of people rely on motorbikes to earn their living, particularly the poor. Additionally, withdrawing the motorbike (a property) of citizens will be against the constitution, according to Lawyer Trần Đình Dũng from the HCMC Bar Association.

In this sense, the DOT has proposed to issue a legal framework for motorbike emission control and to have a plan to supplement the Law on Road Traffic. In the meantime, it planned to check motorbikes of over five years in use and expand the inspection for all.

In the short term, the DOT planned a project to inspect motorbikes that were used for more than five years, and then gradually check all. The project consists of four stages and there will be financial support for the poor and near-poor households and for changing vehicles that do not meet emission standards. The total funding to implement this project by 2030 is 553 billion VNĐ.

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Sources & further information: “HCMC struggles to implement motorbike emission checks” at https://vietnamnews.vn and “Khó khăn trong việc kiểm tra khí thải xe máy tại Thành phố Hồ Chí Minh” at https://www.vietnamplus.vn, accessed on 28 December 2021.