Vehicle management & its impacts
12-Aug-2017


Driving a vehicle is probably a person’s most ‘polluting’ daily activity in an urban environment. Our vehicle dependency and its use is increasing considerably with time. Automobiles have a major impact upon the environment. With time the number of vehicles are rapidly increasing surpassing all predictions and estimates. 

In Bahrain, vehicular traffic is one of the main source of pollution, generating green house gases contributing to climate change and severe impact on air quality causing public health impacts and related diseases.  When a gallon of petrol is burned, it combines with oxygen to produce nearly 20 lbs of carbon dioxide (CO2). Vehicular air pollution can increase a person’s risk of cancer, impair the body’s immune system and cause many respiratory problems. 

Oil and other car fluids contribute to water pollution. Vehicular noise from traffic reduces the quality of life and causes stress and high blood pressure. Smog, air and water pollution also effects the environment around us, compromising the growth of plants and harming animals. 

Thus, measures to manage the vehicle and making the journey more environmentally friendly is an urgent issue. We have to make some changes in our driving habits and reduce the impact of our journeys by participating in a new vision of vehicle use and its management. Here are some easy methods by which we can make vehicular use more environmental friendly:

•Buy vehicle as per your need, users and travel distance. 

•Choose newer and greener version of car models with better environmental performance.

•Buy fuel efficient vehicles and avoid buying larger vehicles which are not only costly but an environmental and social burden taking more space on roads and at parking and especially are more polluting when idling. 

•Help in reducing the number of cars on the road by car sharing with a colleague. Send children to school by school bus. 

•Judiciously use the vehicle.  Plan the journey/ trips to optimize the use of vehicle. A well planned journey will allow you to get to your destination in the quickest and easiest way saving fuel and reducing emissions. A 10 minute unnecessary driving in a 1-hour trip results in 14% decrease in fuel efficiency. 

•Avoid travelling in rush hour to reduce congestion, if possible. 

•Drive wisely and try to maintain a steady vehicular speed, anticipate stops, and accelerate gradually, Use cruise control mode for longer trips especially on highways. 

•Watch your speed as driving at 70mph can consume almost 25% more fuel than driving at 50mph. Travelling at less than 15mph creates more pollution. 60 mph is roughly the optimum speed to reduce fuel consumption in most vehicles. 

•Properly inflated tires enhances fuel efficiency and gives 3% better gas mileage. 

•Get rid of the junk in your trunk. A load on top of the car can increase fuel consumption by 20%. Check for any extra item in the car’s boot and remove it. 

•Avoid vehicle idling. Idling for more than a minute uses more fuel than is needed to re-start the engine. 10 minutes of engine idling in neutral with AC off wastes around 130 cc of fuel.

•Maintain your Car. Perform all routine maintenance and tune up regularly. 

•Use AC judiciously. Use of AC decreases the fuel efficiency by 12%. It is estimated that 5- 30% of fuel usage is from AC, especially in stop-and-go urban traffic. 

 

* Head of Waste Disposal Unit, Supreme Council for Environment, Kingdom of Bahrain ( Email: rahmed@sce.gov.bh)

 

(The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the policy or position of this newspaper.)

 


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