In an effort to reduce the polluting smog engulfing many cities in China the Daily Mail is reporting that the Chinese Government has been cracking down on high-emission transport, resulting in a vast scrapyards containing thousands of buses, cars and trucks that do not meet the minimum emissions standards. Gigantic mounds of vehicles have even formed at landfill sites.
The initiative was sparked by reports that the air in the capital, Beijing, was 20 times over the air pollution limit considered healthy by the World Health Organisation, with emissions from vehicles accounting for 30-40% of the problem. The extent of the problem can be seen in Hangzhou, one of China's most picturesque cities, which in 2013 registered 239 days of smog, equating to almost 90 days more than the annual average.
The increasingly affluent Chinese society has seen a 400% increase in personal income over the last 15 years, resulting in a boom in private car ownership - there is currently one car for every two people in the city. The huge numbers of vehicles and a lack of high-quality fuels are mainly responsible for the dense smog.
From January, new vehicles have to comply with ‘National Standard IV’ emission levels that theoretically guarantee seven times less sulphur emissions than the previous standard for diesel and three times less for petrol. But currently the high grade fuel needed represents just 3% of the market in China, due to the lack of availability, forcing most people to continue to use low-grade, high-emissions fuels.