Friday, January 18, 2008


Too many smoky vehicles in City

Kota Kinabalu could soon become better known for the big number of smoky vehicles, especially buses, lorries and four-wheel-drive vehicles, than its alluring natural beauty.
As a concerned member of the public pointed out, the vehicles that belch thick dark emissions are one of the two most ugly things in this otherwise beautiful city, the other being the perennial cleanliness problem.
Public Hotline has received a number of complaints about the mobile air polluters, the latest coming from Kamal, who expressed disappointment at the lack of serious effort on the part of the relevant authorities to overcome the problem.
Kamal pointed out that far too many of these polluters are allowed to operate freely in the City, posing a serious public health hazard and tarnishing the image of the City.
He said the buses in particular are pouring out awfully large volumes of smoke, and pedestrians and motorcyclists are most affected by the toxic emission.
He said he was behind one of the polluting buses recently when the driver revved the engine while waiting for passengers, leaving an elderly woman and a pregnant woman coughing while walking past it.
"This situation is totally unacceptable but the polluters are allowed to continue flouting the regulations," he said.
Kamal said the public generally feel that not enough has been done to deal with the problem and get such vehicles off the roads.
The integrated enforcement operations carried out by the relevant authorities are just too few and far apart to deter the commercial vehicle operators who knowingly pollute the air and cause discomfort to other motorists, he said."It appears that only a handful of the great number of buses operating in the City, including minibuses would pass the smoke emission test because they are far too old and poorly maintained," he noted.
A spokesman for the Road Transport Department, when asked to comment on the matter, said they will usually hold a joint operation together with the Environment Department to catch the irresponsible road users such as bus drivers and motorists found to have violated the laws.
"The drivers of smoky vehicles will be compounded or brought to court if caught," he said.