In the midst of an impending global air pollution crisis to which Asia is fast emerging as one of the main contributors, Sri Lanka has emerged as one of the cleanest countries in the region in a global Mid-Year Pollution Index for 2015.
Ranking among the 12 cleanest countries in Asia, Sri Lanka comes far ahead of regional counterparts such as China, India, Bangladesh, Vietnam, Malaysia, Pakistan and several other countries to rank 11th of 34 Asian countries. The Pollution Index estimates overall pollution, with the biggest weight given to air pollution.
The ranking by the world’s largest crowd-sourced global database Numbeo follows a similar achievement in 2014 when Sri Lanka ranked highest in South Asia on the Environmental Performance Index, an exhaustive and highly regarded annual global environmental impact assessment study by Yale Universita USA. Sri Lanka ranked far ahead of neighbours India, Bangladesh and Pakistan in the 2014 study and continues to stay ahead in 2015.
Global air pollution levels are reaching crisis levels with air pollution responsible for seven million deaths worldwide each year, making it the largest single global environmental health risk. Increasing levels of air pollution have been linked chiefly to an increase in vehicle emissions, fuelled by Asia’s booming economies and a rapidly increasing aspirational middle class for whom owning a vehicle is a high priority.
In this context, Sri Lanka’s positive ranking on global environmental indices is encouraging, signalling effective environmental management policies, chiefly stringent air pollution management. Notwithstanding a sharp increase in the vehicle population in recent years, with 6.5 million vehicles expected to be plying the roads by 2016, Sri Lanka has defied global trends in air pollution and shown no deterioration of ambient air quality. An achievement due, in large part to stringent VET programmes currently in place.
With vehicles being one of the primary contributors to air pollution, ensuring advanced, reliable and accurate emission monitoring through clean vehicle and fuel technology is a vital factor in ensuring successful air pollution management. Comprehensive VET services play an invaluable role in controlling harmful emissions and preserving the environment, while value-added services such as Fuel Efficiency Reports offer advice on maximizing fuel efficiency and extending engine lifespan.
Effective vehicle emission management is imperative in order to prevent a national health crisis in the presence of increasingly convincing data that links air pollution with cardiovascular and respiratory diseases as well the increasing incidence of cancer. Harmful substances released by exhaust gas such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen oxide matter have also been linked to the destruction of local eco-systems, reduction in crop yields, global warming and climate change. Left unchecked, air pollution can leave a negative long-term environmental legacy, the effects of which will be near impossible to reverse.
Given the compelling link between vehicle emissions and air pollution, continued stringent air pollution management policies including vehicle emission testing by reputed VET providers are imperative if Sri Lanka is to continue to uphold its benchmark record for environmental responsibility.