Public Council to Prevent Noise and Air Pollution finds 9% of cars pollute more than acceptable standard.

The Public Council to Prevent Noise and Air Pollution in Israel (Malraz) discovered more polluting cars during its spot-checks in 2009 than in previous years, according to the organization’s annual report released Tuesday.

Nine percent of the 7,134 cars that Malraz’s mobile testing unit examined were found to pollute more than the acceptable standard. That’s one percent higher than 2008 and represents a new high since 2006’s 8.5%. Malraz has been operating a mobile unit for the last seven years. It is one of only seven in the country to monitor the three million vehicles on the road.

Four mobile units are run by the Environmental Protection Ministry, one by the Jerusalem Municipality and one by the Haifa Union of Cities. The ministry units and the Malraz unit are the only ones able to pull a car off the road and send them for a re-check. Fines range from NIS 250 to NIS 2,000.

Malraz checked 7,134 cars: 1,786 benzene and 5,348 diesel. Malraz has been steadily increasing the number of cars it checks per year. In 2009, the NGO examined 715 more than in 2008.

Three hundred and sixty-seven (21%) of the cars run on benzene were found to be above pollution standards. Most of those were older cars without a catalytic converter (a device used to reduce the toxicity of emissions) – 57 had a converter but were still found to be above the standard.

Just 5.2% of the diesel vehicles checked were found to be emitting unacceptable levels of pollution. Commercial diesel vehicles were found to be the most polluting.

Malraz’s mobile unit operated in Tel Aviv-Jaffa, Kfar Saba, Holon, Petah Tikva, Ramle and Ashdod, including a three-day stint testing the taxis which operate out of Ben- Gurion Airport.

The mobile unit is comprised of two inspectors and a policeman. Malraz head of air pollution, Dr.

Michael Gerber, said that if current rates continued, the organization would examine 9,000 vehicles in 2010 mostly because of additional manpower added to the mobile unit.

A clerk has been added to the team to write up the reports which enables the inspectors to pull over more cars, he said in a statement.

He added that he hoped Malraz would be getting more mobile units in the future.

The NGO has proposed a plan to the Environmental Protection and Finance Ministries to deploy five mobile units in two shifts and examine all the three million vehicles in Israel over five years, Malraz chairman Hilik Rosenblum said.

They estimate 150,000- 200,000 cars pollute more than they should. Malraz was willing to raise NIS 20 million from local authorities and other agencies to fund the project if the ministry matched that amount.

NIS 40m. for such a project would be a considerable sum.

The Environmental Protection Ministry said that it had not received a formal proposal from Malraz and had no comment until it did.