By Hana Namrouqa

AMMAN – A nation-wide campaign to reduce air pollution found that 5.5 per cent of some 84,000 vehicles tested for emissions over the past two months were discharging excessive fumes and were in need of maintenance, officials said on Wednesday.

Under the campaign, launched in May, 3,509 of the 83,852 vehicles tested were found to be emitting harmful gases, according to the Ministry of Environment.

“During the campaign, which concluded this week, motorists whose cars were emitting excessive fumes were advised to carry out maintenance in order to reduce air pollution,” Minister of Environment Taher Shakhshir said in a statement yesterday.

He noted that the campaign, which was carried out in cooperation with the Rangers, aimed at addressing sources of air pollution and raising drivers’ awareness.

“Our teams, which were deployed on roads across the country, acquainted motorists with the hazards of cars fumes and urged them to carry out regular maintenance on their cars, not only to reduce air pollution, but also to cut down on fuel consumption,” Shakhshir highlighted.

Ministry of Environment Spokesperson Isa Shboul said the drivers were also urged to avoid littering.

“They were briefed on environment regulations, under which vehicles found littering or emitting excessive fumes are seized while their owners are fined JD40,” he told The Jordan Times yesterday.

Rangers Director Colonel Fathi Faouri noted that 24,000 of the total number of vehicles tested under the campaign were running on petrol and the remaining 59,852 on diesel.

“The highest number of violations was registered in north Amman, where 661 vehicles were breaching environment regulations, followed by Ruseifa in Zarqa Governorate with 372 vehicles,” he said in the statement.

Official figures indicate that there are around 1.5 million cars on the country’s roads, with 800,000 registered in Jordan and the rest entering the country from abroad. Some 100,000 vehicles are licensed annually, according to statistics.

Vehicles in Jordan, whose numbers increase by 7 per cent annually, are mostly older models that emit excessive fumes and constitute the main source of the Kingdom’s air pollution, according to ministry studies.

The Kingdom’s transport sector is poised to remain a large emitter of harmful gases in the future, negatively affecting public health and per capita income growth, according to environment experts, who are calling for national policies to reduce air pollution caused by vehicles.