T&E: ‘Dirty diesels heading East to Bulgaria’
According to research by NGO Transport & Environment (T&E) in Brussels, East-European country Bulgaria, current president of the European Union, is welcoming happily West-Europe’s most polluting second-hand diesels. More than 30.000 in 2017. This while on Tuesday Sofia is guest town for the EU environmental ministers to meet…
With more cities in Western Europe banning older diesel cars from their centres and consumers turning their backs on diesel, a steady flow of second-hand diesel cars is heading East, where air pollution isn’t as much an issue yet with public opinion. With residual value of diesel cars dropping in the West, the flow going East is growing fast.
Mostly from Italy
Bulgaria is one of the examples, importing more than 100.000 Western second-hand cars, among which more than 30.000 diesels. Most cars apparently come from Italy, with Fiat-Chrysler ahead.
Transport & Environment says the diesel import consisted of 11.529 diesel cars between 15 and 20 years old and 6.030 between 10 and 15. These cars don’t have a particle filter, which only started becoming standard equipment on passenger cars in 2011, and thus are polluting massively in a country that already has a problem with bad air quality.
The other diesel cars are between 5-10 years old (12.592) and younger diesels (less than 5 years old), mostly from leasing fleets (5.571). On a total of 3,1 million cars driving in Bulgaria (figures from 2015), which means something around 1% in total.
12 times NOx limit
Even bigger problem is the amount of NOx those second-hand diesels emit, causing serious health problems, reason why they are being banned in the West. According to T&E those diesels emit on average 12 times more than the EU’s NOx limit of 80 mg/km with the oldest as high as 1.112 mg/km and the youngest 824 mg/km.
T&E is quite radical in its point of view: “Shifting toxic pollution is not an answer, the ministers meeting on the 10th of April in Sofia should instead demand those guilty, the car makers, to fix the problem they are responsible for.”
Software upgrade before export
The NGO pleads to limit the flow of old polluting diesels and demands that only Euro 5 and Euro 6 diesels should be exported to the East, after car manufacturers do the same software upgrades and fixes they do on an obligatory or voluntary base in the West today.