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China moves to scrap highly-polluting cars

China – They are labelled ‘yellow’ cars, meaning they are highly polluting. Around 13% of China’s 224 million vehicles were earning the ‘yellow’ tag as of 2012 but they accounted for more than half of carbon monoxide emissions. To improve air quality in China’s mega cities, governments have now declared war on these polluting cars and trucks. And as a result, car recycling in China is on the increase.

The China National Resources Recycling Association (CRRA) has estimated that a total of 6 million ‘yellow’ cars have been scrapped in 2014. In Heilongjiang Province alone, 200 000 cars have been eliminated this year, while a further 400 000 are to be removed from the streets by the end of 2016. And in Shanghai, 160 000 severely-polluting vehicles are thought to have been scrapped in 2014.

Air pollution in China has become a national crisis, with only three of the 74 cities monitored last year having acceptable air quality; each of them must meet a national goal of removing all ‘yellow’ vehicles from the roads by 2017. However, some provinces are still struggling to achieve their part of the national target.

CRRA underlines that most provinces have their own local policies to encourage standard ‘yellow’ cars to be scrapped. In some cities, high-emission vehicles must display yellow stickers on their windshields while cleaner cars are marked with green ones. In Hangzhou, yellow-labelled cars and trucks are banned from the city’s main areas from 6 am until midnight. And in Hengshui, one of China’s most polluted cities, diesel-powered vehicles that are more than nine years old are banned from its centre.

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