Air pollution is reaching crisis proportions in cities around the developing world. According to the World Health Organization, only 15% of the largest cities in developing countries have acceptable air quality. Poor air quality is related to approximately three million deaths each year.
Urban air pollution in developing countries is caused by mobile and stationary sources, and both should be addressed using an integrated approach.
The growth in urban travel in the developing world will further exacerbate air pollution unless steps are taken to reduce emissions. Vehicles, both gasoline and diesel, emit significant quantities of nitrogen oxides, sulphur oxides, particles, carbon monoxide, and hydrocarbons. These pollutants can be reduced by using lower-sulphur and lead-free fuels and by introducing the new vehicle technologies and emission control devices that require such fuels.
The Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles was launched at the WSSD in Johannesburg in 2002. The Partners met for the first time in New York on 14 and 15 November 2002 to discuss and develop the implementation arrangements for the Partnership.
The Partnership aims to encourage countries to adopt overall clean fuel and vehicles strategies, including vehicle and fuel standards, inspection and maintenance, development of public transport systems – including both motorised and non-motorised options – and transportation demand management.
Both public policy and market incentives have been shifting toward support of pollution-reduction activities. For example:
There is a great need to increase the activities in this area, coordinate the existing initiatives, and support Partners in addressing these important issues.
- Vehicle fleets in developing countries can, in general, switch from leaded to unleaded fuel without any need for additives or adjustments;
- Emission-reduction technologies are widely available, like catalytic converters and technology to reduce sulphur and particulate emissions;
- In many areas at present, unleaded fuel is cheaper and/or more widely available than leaded fuel;
- Low sulphur fuels are becoming increasingly available;
- Modern engine technology is becoming standard in developed countries and is slowly spreading to developing countries;
- Increasingly, vehicles – both new and second-hand – that are equipped with catalytic converters are being imported from western countries and Japan, and in these cases, only unleaded fuels must be used to gain the benefits; and
- Additives have become increasingly available to replace lead in gasoline, which may offer alternatives in certain cases.