EghtesadOnline: Since implementing a ban on the production of carburetor-equipped motorcycles, numerous attempts have been made to kill the mandate; the most recent of which is a formal request signed by two Cabinet members demanding license plates to be issued for a rather large number of carburetor-equipped two-wheelers.
Seemingly the government is backtracking on its promises with regard to green policies that were to preserve the environment, curb air pollution and enhance the quality of urban life.
As reported by ISNA, Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani-Fazli and Industries Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari have of late written a letter to First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, asking for the issuance of license plates for 9,543 carburetor-equipped motorcycles—a request that falls in sharp contrast with the ban issued on their production during President Hassan Rouhani’s first tenure.
The makers claim that the 9,543 units had been produced before the ban was introduced and piled up in their warehouses as they had been unable to sell them, according to Financial Tribune.
On-Again, Off-Again Policy
Back in September 2016, the government ratified a directive obligating manufacturers of two-wheelers to shut down production of substandard carburetor-equipped bikes and to launch production lines for bikes employing fuel-injection systems.
In several cases, motorcycle manufacturers have endeavored to sidestep the regulation claiming that they were not informed about the ruling in time.
On various occasions, they have also lamented the precarious fate of their workers as their main concern over the implementation of the ruling.
Even with the government drawing a line in the sand and setting a deadline for enforcing the ban, bike manufacturers once appealed for production permits for 430,000 carburetor-equipped motorcycles, asserting that they had submitted the import and production orders for their engines prior to the directive was announced.
They eventually managed to convince the government to grant them the permits and produced a total number of 730,000 carburetor-equipped bikes in just one year.
Trying to dodge the bullet, either deliberately or merely out of ignorance, some manufacturers misinterpreted the regulation with regard to fuel-injection engines and added unit injector pumps to substandard carburetor-equipped two-wheelers, claiming to have abided by the given rule.
However, Department of Environment officials unraveled their tricks by announcing, “These injectors are not the same as common direct fuel injection systems,” which the government directive had instructed makers to outfit motorbikes with.
As reported by the DOE, unit injectors are simply equipped with plunger kits, contrary to direct fuel injection pumps that contain different components filtering toxic pollutants from the emission. In addition, direct fuel injection engines are harder to tamper with.
Compromising Public Health
Citizens and environmentalists are of the opinion that the airing of concerns by makers over “financial losses and the jobs to be lost” is a bid to bludgeon the government into yielding to their excessive demands which could compromise the public health once more.
Head of the DOE Isa Kalantari expressed his utmost disapproval regarding the new request. “How is it possible that 10,000 carburetor-equipped motorcycles have not been licensed yet after two years of having implemented the ban?”
He is of the opinion that manufacturers are desperately trying to make big bucks out of the bikes left in their storehouses.
Masoud Tajrishi, DOE’s deputy, believes that the Industries Ministry must shoulder the blame for supposedly not having properly notified the companies. “It does not seem fair to share the penalty with the public by once again exposing them to pollutant bikes.”
Director of the National Air Pollution Working Group Vahid Hosseini also protested the demand to license more units of air pollutant bikes. “Why should any exceptions be made after two years of implementing the ban? Didn’t they have sufficient time to upgrade their technologies?”
He noted that accepting the request at hand would be a slap in the face of law-abiding companies, and would surely affect the way future government directives will be handled by the public.
Carburetor-equipped motorcycles are responsible for 25% of air pollution in Tehran, ranked as one of the main leading contributors to immature deaths. With 2,600 premature pollution-related deaths every year, Iran is among the top five countries in terms of air pollution mortality.
According to Nayereh Piroozbakht, head of Institute of Standards and Industrial Research of Iran, carburetor-equipped motorcycles are four times more pollutant than cars as they lack catalytic converters integrated into automobile engines.
As if this was not enough, the outdated motorbikes are the number one culprits in creating noise pollution. Some 2.5 million carburetor-equipped motorcycles ply Tehran’s almost permanently clogged roads.
Considering the government’s seesawing approach to enforcing the ban, there seems to be no end in sight for production of these biohazards which spew poison into the air and have been an utter nuisance to citizens for decades.