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Diesel particles - a health hazard Diesel particles - a health hazard 1 Diesel particles - a health hazard ISBN: 87-89843-61-4 Text by: Christian Ege, Director, The Danish Ecological Council Translation: Nanna Balsby Lay out: Søren Dyck-Madsen Photos: Søren Dyck-Madsen, page 2, 10 and 11 Planet Ark, page 6 right Tuk Tuk Thailand, page 6 left Renovations Transport Roskilde, page 12 Drawing: Lars-Ole Nejstgaard 2. Issue: August 2004 The pamphlet is free, but postage and services are charged. It can be read and downloaded from our homepage: www.ecocouncil.dk The pamphlet is funded by Enkefru Plums Fund. Copyright: The Danish Ecological Council Citation, reproduction and other use of the booklet is allowed with a source reference. Published by: The Danish Ecological Council Tomorrow’s Environment is Created Today Blegdamsvej 4B DK-22 00 Copenhagen N Denmark Phone no.: +45 33150777 Fax no.: +45 33150971 E-mail: email@example.com www.ecocouncil.dk 2 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004 Small particles - the number one trafc killer There is every indication that small (ultra- tained on the damaging effects of ultra-ne ne) particles, mainly emitted from diesel particles. There are only a few population vehicles, are among the pollutants that rep- surveys (epidemiological surveys) but these resent the biggest health hazard. Since the are substantiated by animal testing on the mid 1990’s, much attention has been given damaging effect of the particles. The re- to this issue in the United States-followed a searchers conclude that the particles appear couple of years later by Europe. In this con- to cause approximately 5,000 deaths an- nection, the Danish Environmental Protec- nually in Danish cities (1) and that one- tion Agency published a report indicating fourth, i.e. approximately 1,250 deaths, that annually the ultra-ne particles appar- could be avoided if heavy diesel vehicles ently cause several hundred early deaths were tted with particle lters. per million inhabitants in big cities. A re- duction of 30% of emissions could prob- In June 2003, the Danish Ministry of Trans- ably prevent 300-400 of these deaths annu- port published its concluding statement on ally per million inhabitants in cities. This particles. Their estimations are somewhat rate is higher than for example deaths in lower: 3,400 early deaths of which 450 trafc accidents in the largest cities in Den- could be avoided by tting diesel-powered mark. The gure quoted is based primarily heavy vehicles with particle lters. These on American studies. Especially the elderly gures are, however, still very high. Fur- suffer. What is more, the small particles thermore, it is also estimated that the par- seem to aggravate asthma incidences, also ticles entail 3,300 additional cases of chron- among the many children with this condi- ic bronchitis, 11,600 new cases of acute tion. What makes the small particles espe- bronchitis in children under the age of 15, cially dangerous is that they can enter the and approximately 160,000 additional asth- smallest vessels of the lungs. ma attacks. Today, it is widely agreed upon among re- What is more, small particles from diesel searchers all over the world that the health vehicles are also a serious problem in the implications of small particles are extreme- working environment of for example bus ly serious. A large-scale WHO funded and taxi drivers, refuse collectors, and those project conducted in France, Switzerland working for construction contractors. and Austria indicated that airborne pollu- The small particles are also a problem in- tion from trafc leads to extensive health doors as they get in through the smallest hazards, principally because of small parti- of cracks. According to studies, the level cles. A Dutch study concluded that mean of ultra-ne particles in ats with windows life expectancy in city areas with small- facing heavily trafcked streets is consider- particle pollution is reduced by about 12 ably higher than in ats with windows fac- months due to those particles. This is quite ing the courtyard. an extreme outcome compared to the calcu- lated impacts of other environmental fac- Petrol-powered vehicles also emit small tors. particles, though to a lesser extent. On an estimate, two-thirds of particles emitted by In 2002, a group of Danish researchers road trafc seem to come from diesel ve- summarised in an article the knowledge ob- hicles and, since they number far fewer Diesel particles - a health hazard 3 than petrol-powered vehicles, there is much is generally the same. In the United States to be said for prioritising particle ltering and Japan, though, the amount of cars with in diesel vehicles. Moreover, older pet- a catalytic converter is higher as they intro- rol-powered cars without a catalytic con- duced catalytic converters before Europe verter also emit particles. Laboratory meas- did. Therefore, there is every reason to urements have shown that the release of make a targeted effort in order to have par- small particles from a petrol-powered ve- ticles removed from the emission from die- hicle with a catalytic converter is approxi- sel vehicles. mately a hundredth of that from a vehicle without one, and the latter will emit fewer New developments have led to an increase particles than a diesel vehicle. The impli- in petrol-powered cars with direct injection, cation is that particle emission from pet- the so-called GDI cars. Though these have rol-powered vehicles will automatically de- a low level of fuel consumption, the emis- crease in the coming yeas as the proportion sion of particles is at the same level as of vehicles with emission control systems diesel vehicles. There is thus a need for gradually increases. Today, it is estimated taking measures in regards to these petrol that 85-90% of all petrol-powered cars have cars, something that is presently being con- a catalytic converter, which has been a legal sidered in the EU. requirement since 1993. Though the rate is (1) Denmark has a population of ve million inhab- somewhat lower in some EU countries, it itants where almost two million live in large cities. Figure 1: the schematic distribution of airborne particles according to size. The gure shows that most particles from car emissions lie in the ultra-ne interval between 0,001-0,1 mm. Widespread particles lie in the ne interval between 0,1-2,5mm, while dust whirled up from the street lies in the coarse interval above 2.5 mm. As PM10 indicates a particle mass of less than 10 mm, the ultra-ne particles are of little signicance hereof. From the Odense report (Denmark’s Road Safety and Transport Agency 2002) page 10 Figure 1: Typical size distribution of particles in the air Wind-swept dust Whirled up street dust Particles emitted from cars Long distance transport particles Diameter (Micrometer) Ultra-ne Fine Coarse 4 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004 Why lters? In other elds, we often advocate preven- lters withhold both large and small parti- tion or changes in technology rather than cles, which are burnt in the lter. Yet an- purication. Diesel vehicles are, however, other option is to change fuel-that is, switch especially used for carriage of goods, and to gas or electric operation. However, that is secondly used as busses, taxies and private a lot more costly. cars. It is hard to imagine trafc restrictions that would in themselves be radical enough Nor are particle lters inexpensive. Prices, to solve the problem. Only a technical solu- including tting, were in 2001 approximately: tion can bring about a drastic reduction in Large van Euro 3,600 emissions. It is possible to make a little headway, for example, by better use of the Bus or medium-sized lorry Euro 5 - 6,000 capacity of lorries and vans. But even if a 20-30% decrease in diesel-powered trans- Heavy lorry Euro 9,000 port could be achieved (which would be an extremely ambitious target) that reduction Prices are nevertheless decreasing. The would be grossly inadequate in relation to Municipality of Copenhagen received an the small particles. Furthermore, in recent offer in mid 2003 on particle lters for years there has been a dramatic surge in the heavy vehicles at the rate of Euro 4,000 market share of diesel-powered private cars. apiece, excluding installation. It could be possible to solely use petrol- powered cars instead. Nevertheless, there is As for private cars, the change can be made an inherent dilemma in this shift: a diesel at a much lesser cost. Today lters are engine saves 25-30% on fuel, which is a only offered for few models, and only for benet in regards to CO2 and the green- the more expensive cars, yet considerably house effect; but the particles will make it more models will be marketed with lters extremely hazardous to human health. This in 2004. The sale of diesel-powered private serves to further underline the fact that we cars has exploded in the EU: in Denmark, need to solve the particle problem before sales have increased from 9% in 1999 to too many diesel-powered cars have left the 20% in 2002. Likewise, over half of the assembly line. Once the particle problem new cars sold in France and Austria run has been dealt with, the use of diesel will on diesel. Now is therefore the time to con- offer environmental benets. However, be- centrate on diesel-powered private cars. No cause the emission of NOx is higher when marketing efforts have focused on retrot- using diesel, it is necessary to reduce NOx ting lters on private cars, though the lter levels in the fuel. producer informs that this is the result of a In order to achieve the required reduction lack of demand. The demand for particle l- of particle emissions we have to resort to ters, however, will not come automatically. technical solutions. And such a solution ac- The lters need to be promoted through leg- tually exists, namely particle lters. These islation, green taxes and subsidies. Diesel particles - a health hazard 5 A global problem Emission of hazardous diesel particles is a three-wheeled vans that are used abundant- problem overall in the world, especially in ly in India. Also the younger busses, taxi- large cities. This is why the World Health cabs and “three-wheelers” had to convert to Organisation (WHO) has decided to pri- natural gas by 31.03.2001. oritise the ght against particle emissions. In New Delhi, the environmental organisa- After intense lobbying by the oil industry, tion Centre for Science and Environment the city council chose to disregard the rul- (CSE) has established the “Right to Clean ing. When pressure on the city council in- Air Campaign Team”. The large cities in In- creased, they simply chose to suspend all dia are very much affected by trafc pollu- bus services for a while. They hoped that tion and especially particles seem to cause this would bring about an outcry from the many thousands of early deaths each year. many who were forced to walk to work and CSE, among others, took the matter to court that they thus could invalidate the ruling. in order to solve the problem. CSE believed This tactic, however, did not work. CSE that it was better to take the big leap and and others had informed so widely about use natural gas, rather than to take incre- the hazards of air pollution that the people mental steps by lowering the sulphur con- were willing to take issue with the problem. tent and applying European emission stand- After a period of time, the court imposed ards until particle lters are introduced. nes on the city council until they abided In 1998, the court sustained their claim by the ruling. Only then did the city council and the city council of New Delhi was im- convert the vehicles and now many thou- posed to convert all buses, taxicabs and sands of vehicles use gas, though far from “three-wheelers” from before 1990 to gas all do. by 31.03.2000. “Three-wheelers” are the Street scene from India with diesel “three-wheelers”, busses, etc. 6 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004 Are lters effective? It has been questioned whether particle l- handling company of Aarhus (3) (Aarhus ters are actually effective in inhibiting ul- Renholdningsselskab) have had positive ex- tra-ne particles-of 10-30 nanometres (one perience in using this system. billionth of a metre). In 2002, the Danish Road Safety and Transport Agency (under The Odense trial showed that several of the the Ministry of Transport) and the Munici- diesel vehicles were in such poor condition pality of Odense (2) published a 2-year full- that they ruined the particle lters. The soot scale trial of particle lters on 120 heavy simply covered the lters in no time. This vehicles. The trial showed that several of should not be understood as an argument the lters tested satised the required 80% against the use of lters but rather as an reduction, also of ultra-ne particles (of argument for ensuring maintenance. These 10-100 nanometers = 0.01-0.1 mm), while vehicles represent an unnecessarily serious there were problems with two of the re- pollution hazard. Heavy diesel vehicles maining lters. Sulphur, emitted as sul- are presently imposed an annual check-up phate particles when the motor was strained, where emission density is tested, that is to accumulated in the lters. The lters also say how translucent it is. Action should be underwent durability tests after one as well taken, however, to ensure that car owners do as two years of operation and the lters not adjust the motor to pollute as little as mentioned still functioned satisfactory. possible before inspection only to readjust Apart from the problems mentioned above concerning sulphur in some lters (includ- ing the renowned CRT lter), NO2 emis- sions also increased. The lters are com- bined with a catalytic converter, which is used to increase the temperature in the lter. Some of the NO2, though, passes through the lter. Thus, the dilemma is that in choosing to decrease particle emissions, it can lead to an increase in NO2 emissions. The dilemma, however, can be avoided by selecting the correct type of lter that lives up to the required reduction of small parti- cles without increasing emissions of oxides of nitrogen. One of the lters depends upon a diesel oil additive based on an iron or cerium compound, which are both not haz- ardous to the environment or human health. The front page of the Odense report (Denmark’s Evidently, it is crucial to ensure that the Road Safety and Transport Agency 2002) additive is used, for example by tting an The Road Safety and Transport Agency along additive tank in the vehicle along with auto- with the Municipality of Odense carried out a matic dosage and a blocking device making major trial of particle lters on heavy diesel- certain that the vehicle cannot drive when powered vehicles, reported in 2002. The picture the additive tank is empty. The public waste shows a city bus tted with a lter. Diesel particles - a health hazard 7 the motor afterwards to its highest perform- In 2002, the Danish rm Halldor Topsøe ance, which increases pollution. Some may disclosed a prototype for a new purication be tempted to do just that because they pri- system for diesel-powered vehicles in which oritise high performance, i.e. high speed and urea is added to the catalytic converter. quick acceleration, rather than limiting emis- Though the system does not specically sions. In practice, there has been no control clean the particles, it goes into the NOx cata- of cars that soot. Though the Danish Road lytic converter to purify nitrogen oxides. The Trafc Act states that vehicles may not “pol- purication system can, however, be used to lute unnecessarily”, it has not been until adjust the motor to produce a high level of January 2003 that the police has been di- NOx emissions and a low level of particle rected to conduct such checks according to emissions as these are complementary and EU regulations. The way regulations are ad- when one emission is great, the other is ministered in Denmark control of emissions low. Yet it has not yet been established that will solely be carried out upon inspection such an adjustment combined with a cat- of heavy vehicles in cooperation with the alytic converter can provide an 80% emis- Danish Car Inspection. The effect would be sion reduction, also for the ultrane parti- greater if the trafc police stopped vehicles cles. Thus, such a catalytic converter should emitting black exhaust and sent them to be be combined with a particle lter. inspected. (2) The third largest city in Denmark with ap- The Odense trial showed that several refuse proximately 200,000 inhabitants collection trucks had problems with the l- (3) Denmark’s second largest city ters because they did not warm up enough to burn the particles collected in the lters. Especially two test schemes for particle Nevertheless, this problem seems to stem traps are used internationally from choosing the wrong lters or because The Vert-list from Switzerland: http://www. the trucks were ill maintained. If the trucks umwelt-schweiz.ch/imperia/md/content/luft/ do not soot extraordinarily, then a ve to fachgebiet/e/industrie/lterliste_01_03_04_e.pdf six kilometre drive at normal speed once a The Energy Savings Trust list from the UK: day should be sufcient to insure that the http://www.transportenergy.org.uk/downloads/ particles are incinerated. This would typi- TransportEnergyCleanUpRegister.pdf cally be when the truck drives to the incin- eration plant after collecting the refuse. The Vert-list only tests the properties of the lters themselves. It also tells for which kind Finally, the Odense trail also showed that of vehicles and machines they can be used, tting lters on the motors does not in- but this is only based on information from the crease fuel consumption, as had been manufacturer. The UK list also tests the lters claimed. In other words, there are no tech- in different kinds of vehicles and machines. nical arguments against the use of lters. In general if your vehicle runs at a relatively However, maintenance of the vehicles is high exhaust temperature, above approximately crucial. This is the responsibility of car 300 oC, you can use a catalytic diesel parti- owners and carriers, though random checks culate lter. If your vehicle runs at a lower should be carried out in order to ensure temperature, for instance a waste collection compliance. Furthermore, independent tests vehicle, you will normally need a lter adapted should be carried out on the lters. The for fuel with an additive (ferro- or cerium). Danish Road Safety and Transport Agency has issued a principle approval scheme for Concerning regulations and test schemes in particulate lters for this purpose. different countries, see www.dieselnet.com. 8 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004 Demands on vehicles and diesel oil The EU has adopted more stringent de- The Ecological Council has since 1997 mands on particle emissions from heavy contributed to a public pressure in order diesel vehicles called Euro IV. However, to place the issue of small particles from they do not come into force until 2006 and trafc high up on the political agenda in apply only to new vehicles. It is therefore Denmark. In 1998, the Danish government, necessary to add 10-12 years, which is the supported by a couple of other parties, average lifespan of heavy vehicles. Further- agreed on a compromise that changed the more, the EU solely sets demands on parti- tax on diesel such that the tax on diesel cle mass and not on particle counts. This fuel with less than 50 ppm of sulphur was means that producers can meet demands by lowered by DKK 0.09 (1.3 Euro cent). This tting a catalytic converter and combine it caused diesel to be replaced with low sul- with adjusting the motor, and we do not phur diesel (max. 50 ppm) on the entire know whether this will only remove the Danish market (except agriculture and cer- largest of particles, see above. Therefore, tain other sectors). This unambiguously il- these demands should be extended and in- lustrates how potent an instrument green clude demands on particle counts as soon taxes can be. According to calculations, low as possible. Thus far, this has been rejected sulphur diesel should reduce particle emis- due to the lack of a measuring method; sions by 13% when analysed as particle yet such a method was selected in 2003 weight. The reduction is even higher (ap- and is now scheduled to be tested. Until proximately 50%) when measuring particle EU regulations become more stringent, it is counts, as apparently the reduction of the up to the member countries themselves to smallest particles is the largest. Further- encourage the use of particle lters, even more, it also eased the introduction of parti- when the above-mentioned catalytic con- cle lters, some of which can tolerate very verters are used. little sulphur. Regarding private cars and smaller vans, Today, it is possible to tighten up demands the coming demands (Euro IV) are less on sulphur contents even more - to 10 ppm stringent in relation to particles and will not - which again would decrease emissions as demand lters. This will rst be required well as encourage improvements on certain at the next level (Euro V), but negotiations types of lters. Germany and Sweden has hereon have only just begun and it will changed their diesel tax so as to support probably not come into effect before 2010. the use of diesel with max 10 ppm sulphur Thus, it will take many years until lters and Switzerland joined in the beginning of are tted in all heavy diesel vehicles and 2004. The remaining EU countries should even longer in regards to light vehicles. follow their example at the earliest possible Considering the serious health hazard in- date. The Danish government has thus so volved, we cannot wait that long. The EU far been reluctant to follow suit because decides demands on vehicle emissions and of its tax freeze decision, which was in- we cannot directly make demands more troduced at its accession in 2001. A dif- stringent than those of the EU. But what we ferentiation of taxes would either contradict can do is to support the lters by means of the freeze-if the tax on 50 ppm diesel was green taxes and subsidies. increased-or result in a loss in revenue-if the tax on 10 ppm diesel was decreased. Diesel particles - a health hazard 9 Because a total change in market, as seen low levels of sulphur has to be accessible in neighbouring countries, is expected, it is on the market by 2005. However, the fact necessary to increase the tax on 50 ppm that the decrease to 10 ppm must not be diesel in order to prevent a loss in revenue. fully implemented until 2009 has not been But in October 2003 the Danish govern- taken into account. ment contemplates negotiating with the oil companies concerning a differentiation that The EU has passed a change in the directive can ensure the introduction of diesel with on sulphur contents of petrol and diesel, low levels of sulphur; this could be seen as which demands that member countries have a change in course. However, the end result to offer diesel fuel with a sulphur content is still uncertain. The government bases its of max. 10 ppm on the market, and from assessment on a cost-benet analysis indi- 2009 the sulphur content in all diesel oil cating that it only “pays off” to make a in the EU has to be less than 10 ppm. As differentiation of taxes of 0.016 DKK (2.3 previously mentioned, however, there is no Euro cent) per litre of diesel oil-seen in reason for waiting that long, as the transi- relation to the number of lives that can tion can already be carried through today be saved by decreasing pollution. This is with the help of economic measures. based upon the assumption that the advance would only be for one year, as diesel with All vehicles using diesel or gasoline emit the hazardous ultrane particles. Gasoline cars emit much less than diesel vehicles. Installation of a particle lter will reduce emission of the hazardous particles by 80-90%. 10 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004 Non-road vehicles Like private diesel cars, also the so-called follow up on non-roadbound vehicles until non-road vehicles lack behind in terms later. They will thus rst impose more strin- of emission reduction. This concerns trac- gent demands on non-roadbound machines tors, harvesters, locomotives, contractor’s gradually in 2011 to 2014. machinery, etc. An EU directive imposing more strict demands on these vehicles is In decreasing particle emissions from heavy presently being negotiated in regards to vehicles in the EU, emissions from non- emissions of, for example, particles. The roadbound vehicles will become increas- directive, however, has an even longer time ingly signicant. According to calculations, frame, namely until 2010-and it has even particles from non-road vehicles already been suggested to delay it further. Because correspond to 42% of all road trafc emis- the market for such machines is global, the sions and, if these emissions are not re- EU wants to harmonise the market, espe- duced, they will surpass particle emissions cially in regards to American legislation. from road trafc by 2020. However, most The Americans, on the other hand, operate emissions from non-road vehicles occur with very long time frames because of the outside cities and the health hazard is there- high level of sulphur in their diesel oil and fore less than that of ordinary road trafc. the government do not nd it feasible to If the United States does not wish to harmo- lower these levels quicker than what has nise standards, it will have to accept that already been decided. And here we are only it will not have free access to export these talking about lowering the level to 50 ppm machines to European markets, at least for of sulphur, which has been a requirement in a period of time. There are good prospects Denmark since 1998, see above. The Unit- of having such legislation ratied by the ed States will introduce low-level sulphur WTO because of the solid documentation diesel for road trafc in 2007, but will not on the health hazards caused by particles. Figure: contractor’s machinery Particle emissions from harvesters, contractor’s machinery, tractors, lo- comotives, etc.-called non-road vehicles-will, if not limited, represent an increasingly larger share, as emissions from heavy vehicles are decreased. Diesel particles - a health hazard 11 Voluntary introduction of particle lters Following the introduction of low sulphur stitutions offering for example haulage, diesel, some of the Danish transport compa- waste collection, conveyance of patients nies, especially among bus companies and and disabled, school buses, as well as con- refuse collection operators, have introduced struction work using diesel-powered con- particle lters voluntarily. More specical- tractor’s machines, should demand lters. ly, the HUR (4) (Public Transport Company Given the total number of diesel vehicles of the Copenhagen Metropolitan Region) in Denmark, exceedingly few have particle now imposes the condition whenever new lters today. tenders are invited for bus transport con- tracts that all new diesel busses have to Germany is presently introducing a road have particle lters tted, and the contrac- tax for heavy vehicles. This tax will be dif- tor is paid extra if lters are retrotted on ferentiated such that vehicles living up to older busses. Also, several waste collection Euro IV requirements-i.e. cars with particle companies, for example in Copenhagen and lters-are required to pay a smaller fee. It is in Aarhus, have tted lters on many of estimated that a Danish export truck driving their trucks. through Germany will often have to pay approximately 12,000 Euro per year in road All public institutions should follow the taxes. If the truck complies with Euro IV above-mentioned example and incorporate requirements, it saves approximately 2,000 it as part of their green purchasing policy; Euro per year. Thus, it is considerably prof- it should include its carpool as well as be- itable to t a lter on such a truck. Though ing a requirement when inviting tenders the German road tax should have been im- for transportation tasks. Other public in- plemented during the autumn of 2003, it has been postponed due to technical dif- culties. It is expected to be implemented during 2004. (4) HUR covers Copenhagen and three neigh- bouring counties with a total of 1.8 million in- habitants A photo of a waste collection truck with a lter Quite a few road transport companies have had particle lters tted on their busses and waste collection trucks, often encouraged by the municipality or transport authorities that set demands in their tender documents. 12 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004 The proposal of the Danish Ecological Council We have proposed the Danish government metres per year. At the same time, the pro- and Parliament (the Folketing) to introduce posal is merely putting the polluter pays a tax scheme on diesel vehicles without principle into practice-a tax which could particle lters, the revenue of which should be collected without breaking the govern- be used for subsidising the tting of particle ment’s tax freeze-much in the same way as lters-in other words, a model according to the municipalities can increase the waste- the “Polluter Pays Principle”. The Council water tax whenever treatment plants or has prepared a calculation example with a sewage pipes have to be renovated. realistic tax that enables a 50% subsidy for the installation of particle lters in 48,000 As for private cars that could use petrol as diesel vehicles annually, the equivalent of well, the tax proposed would have the posi- about 13% of all Danish diesel vehicles or tive effect of making fewer car-owners opt 16% if private cars are not included in the for diesel until more diesel-powered models calculation (see the box below). with lters are available on the market. It should be noted that EU regulations on We propose that subsidies are given to both state subsidies are limited to 30% on envi- new and existing diesel vehicles. It should ronmental ttings. However, we choose to be ensured that the subsidy does not help interpret this proposal not as a subsidy, but maintain an overcharge on lters. We pro- as a fee that -according to the “polluter pays pose that the subsidy gradually phases out principle”- is charged car owners. by 15 percentage points each year, thus cre- ating an incentive to install lters as quick- The tax is charged to diesel vehicles with- ly as possible. The subsidy will thus be zero out lters. Gas-powered vehicles will nor- for new vehicles by the time the EU direc- mally be able to comply. We propose an tive will be in effect in 2006. The subsidy increase of the Danish green ownership tax should be phased out more gradually on (5) on diesel-powered private cars as well existing cars, for example by ve percent- as of the weight duty on lorries, vans and age points annually. busses, resulting in a total revenue of Euro 156 million per year. This encompasses an Estimated number of diesel vehicles in increase of approximately Euro 200 annu- Denmark: ally for private cars, Euro 270 for small Private cars, incl. taxi cabs 90.000 vans, and Euro 470 for busses and lorries. In practice, the levy scale would probably Vans below two tonnes 12.000 need more differentiation so the rates indi- Vans and lorries above 2 t. 271.000 cated should rather be seen to reect the order of magnitude of the tax. The revenue Above 3.5 t. 45.000 generated of Euro 156 million annually Buses 8.000 could then be used to subsidise particle lters. The increase of tax would be per- (5) An annual ownership tax on private cars. It ceived as reasonable, the owners of diesel was formally called ‘weight duty’ since it was vehicles have been given preferential treat- based on the vehicles weight, but since 1998 ment for quite some years in regards it is based on the car’s fuel economy and was to taxation when they drive many kilo- therefore renamed ‘green ownership tax’. Other vehicles still pay the ‘weight duty’. Diesel particles - a health hazard 13 Duties and cross-frontier shopping Another solution could be to combine a companies registering in other countries, for smaller increase in the green ownership tax example Danish transport companies regis- and the weight duty with a slight increase in tering in Luxembourg or a similar country the tax on diesel oil. In principle, it is also where both duties and company taxes are possible merely to increase the tax on diesel low. Yet we do not believe that a tax of (a bit more). However, we need to keep in Euro 470 per year is of any consequence, mind that Denmark would be quite sensitive compared to the book depreciation of heavy to cross-boarder shopping, and an increase vehicles purchased at some Euro 130.000 could risk producing negative revenue. The in initial cost. The claim also falls to the Danish tax on diesel, however, lies just be- ground if, as proposed earlier, the weight low that of Germany for commercial vehi- duty is slightly increased in combination cles, a fact that is difcult to defend seen with an increase in the tax on diesel. It from an environmental point of view. Thus, should be noted that the Danish weight duty it is possible to make room for an increase today is equivalent to the EU’s minimal rate. in the Danish diesel tax without resulting in Faced with the issue of registering abroad, cross-frontier shopping to Germany. we should press for common minimum tax- Moreover, we will undoubtedly see claims es, working environment codes, etc. within that an increase of the Danish weight duty the EU, so other EU countries cannot under- will intensify the present trend of transport cut and thus offer a “ag of convenience”. A green registration fee Upon the purchase of a new car, a registration introduced when appointed. At the same time, fee is paid based upon the value of the car- the redistribution would also cause a reduc- contrary to the green ownership tax, which tion in total fuel consumption, which in turn has replaced the weight duty on private cars, would result in a reduction of revenue for the and which is differentiated according to fuel state. Due to the tax freeze, this revenue could consumption. The Danish administration has not be generated elsewhere! In other words, for quite some time discussed a proposal for the government follows a rigid interpretation a green registration fee that takes into con- of the tax freeze, which blocks environmen- sideration both fuel consumption and particle tally friendly adjustments. This is despite the emission. One of the two government parties, fact that the government proclaimed in 2001 the Conservative People’s Party, also included that the “tax freeze will…not be a hindrance this issue in their party programme during the to any necessary alterations regarding taxes”, 2001 elections. However, when the Danish including “if introductions of new taxes or Ministry of Taxation presented a report on the increases in duties is desired based upon en- issue, the government chose not to amend the vironmental considerations”-as long as other registration fee. Differentiating the fee would taxes are decreased accordingly. result in an increased expense for polluting Differentiation of the registration fee should vehicles, yet would represent a decrease for be implemented as soon as possible due to the those emitting less. Apparently, the govern- particle emission situation, etc. Furthermore, ment feared that this increase for the polluting the green ownership tax should be revised vehicles would be perceived as a breach of so that it not only takes into account fuel faith in regards to the tax freeze that they consumption but also particle emission. 14 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004 Environmental zones A new Danish act that came into force on Our proposal for a combined tax and subsi- 01.06.2000, has enabled the introduction of dy scheme would be a good supplement to environmental zones in town centres. This introducing environmental zones. In prac- means that municipal authorities can en- tice, it is hardly realistic for any munic- force more stringent demands on vehicles ipality to introduce environmental zones wishing to enter the city’s most vulnerable with mandatory particle lters if not under- areas. Though trials of this nature can nor- pinned by a tax-cum-subsidy scheme. That mally only run for a one-year period, it would create a tremendous pressure from can be extended insofar as the evaluation companies based within the zone, both road shows that there is a basis for implement- transport companies and other rms, since ing the arrangement permanently. The big their access to choosing between transport- city municipalities could use this instru- ers and suppliers would be restricted. ment for dening urban zones in which diesel vehicles are only allowed if tted If environmental zones are allowed to stand with lters. That would very specically alone, they will merely amount to letting encourage owners of vehicles that drive in the state/parliament wash their hands and the town centres to apply for subsidies and pass the buck to the urban municipalities. have lters installed. This would, however, But a tax-cum-subsidy scheme would make require a clear declaration that the arrange- a potent incentive for road transport compa- ment does not merely run for a one-year nies to have lters installed while also mak- trial period. ing the lters nancially feasible for them. The Municipality of Copenhagen is plan- Pamphlet on particle lters from the Municipal- ning to introduce environmental zoning in ity of Copenhagen the centre at the beginning of 2005. The Ministry of Justice has to ratify the trial be- fore it can begin. The municipality has sub- mitted the proposal for a two-year trial pe- riod, but the negotiations have as yet (Janu- ary 2004) not terminated. A couple of years ago, Stockholm intro- duced their version of an environmental zone. However, foreign-owned vehicles are exempted from the rigorous demands on emissions after the EU Commission has threatened to declare the zoning inconsist- ent with the Internal Market. Furthermore, in 1999, the Municipality of Copenhagen decided the following: • All new diesel vehicles purchased after 01.01.2000 must have particle lters • All existing vehicles must have lters ret- rotted by 01.01.2003 if it is environmen- Diesel particles - a health hazard 15 tally sensible • Vehicles that are used for many short • By 01.01.2003, the public administrations drives, i.e. where the emission tempera- must ensure that all rms, with whom ture is constantly low they enter into agreements with, use par- Experiences like the Odense trial (see ticle lters on those cars used for munici- above) show, however, that the last-men- pal transport. These demands must be tioned exception-which especially compris- stated clearly in tender documents, con- es waste collection-is not necessary if the tracts, etc. correct lter is tted. The municipality, however, has not been The last condition includes the transport able to keep to the time limits mentioned of waste, utilities, maintenance, roads & above. The City Council and its Technol- parks (snow clearing, street clearing, etc.), ogy and Environmental Committee have as taxi driving, delivery of goods, and so on. per March 2003 decided that each of the Thus, it incorporates all the different ad- administrations has to have a plan of action ministrations of the municipality. concerning particle lters on their vehicles. The Environmental Protection Agency of At the same time, the above-mentioned re- Copenhagen (the environmental adminis- quirements were limited to include only ve- tration of the municipality) published a hicles that are larger than 3.5 tonnes. A guide to the administrations in 2000. The new time limit was also set for retrotting guide gives a denition of “environmen- lters on existing heavy vehicles until the tally sensible” which allow the following 01.04.2004. On 20.10.2003, the Committee exceptions: decided that the administrations must nish • Vehicles that drive less than 2-3,000 km their plans of action by 01.01.2004 and per year that they have to hand in a status report on the tting of lters by 01.05.2004. The • Vehicles that are more than ten years old City Council will discuss the reports before and have a high consumption of lubricat- summer 2004. ing oil The interdepartmental task force 2001 A working group with representatives from concludes that a subsidy covering 50% of four Danish ministries (with the secretariat the expenses would only create an incen- being placed in the Road Safety and Trans- tive for very few carriers to t lters on port Agency) presented a report in June their vehicles. On the other hand, the report 2001. The report examines different means states that, in order for the carriers to t of promoting the use of particle lters, lters on their vehicles, the tax would have among others through taxation and subsi- to be increased to such a level that it will dies. The report is most in favour of using inhibit competition. Yet there are no con- subsidies, though without proposing how crete proposals on how to create an incen- these should be nanced. The report only tive by combining the two. supercially relates to the possibility of Furthermore, the report has a very strict combining taxes and subsidies, as described way of applying cost-benet analyses in earlier. On the one hand, the working group considering whether or not such an inter- 16 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004 vention is “worth it”. An estimation of an- But the working group deduces that the 22 nual early deaths and health damages that deaths are more probable than the 1,000 could be prevented by using particle lters deaths, i.e. that the size of the particles is given. Next, the report sets a price on is probably irrelevant, contrary to previous these lives stated in hard currency and com- evaluations made in Denmark as well as in- pares this to the price of particle lters. ternationally. The 1,000 lives saved should By referring to scientic uncertainty, the be compared to the 1,250 lives that the authors depict a lower limit of 22 early Danish research group from 2002 arrived at deaths and an upper limit of 1,000. The (see above on page 2). lower limit of 22 deaths is built upon the In addition, the report operates with an unu- assumption (which is highly improbable) sual low price per life lost, namely Euro that small and big particles have the same 200,000. The rate that is often used in this effect. Should this be the case, emissions type of analysis is approximately Euro 1 from diesel vehicles would only account million. On account of these distorted de- for a small part of the deaths caused by ductions, the working group concludes that particle emission. According to the investi- it is not worth it to introduce a sufciently gation, approximately 25% of PM10 (parti- large differentiation of duties and subsidies cles less than 10 micrometers) come from to motivate car owners and carriers to in- trafc emissions, as do approximately 60% stall lters. of the ultra-ne particles. The problem is Apart from the distorted deductions, it is that the assumptions are often based upon also questionable whether or not it is pos- data on PM10 because there are only few sible to justify a decision regarding the re- measurements on ultra-ne particles back duction of particle emissions based on the in time. But as PM10 is based upon weight, price in Euro of life and health damages. the bigger particles account for much more For example, the decreased welfare of an than the ultra-ne particles. Insofar as it is asthmatic patient has more personal costs, assumed, as most researchers do, that the and the like, than pure economic costs for ultra-ne particles are the most hazardous, the sanitation authorities. then 1,000 early deaths would seem a more probable scenario than 22 deaths. Report from the Environmental Assess- ment Institute In 2002, the Danish Environmental Assess- researchers. Furthermore, IMV calculates ment Institute (IMV) presented a report that with a couple of price options on a “statisti- attempts to calculate whether it is socio- cal life”. Under the assumption that life economically benecial to retrot particle is rated high (see above), the IMV con- lters, i.e. an investigation similar to the cludes that it is socio-economically bene- report mentioned above from 2001. Con- cial to retrot lters on heavy diesel vehi- trary to the governmental report, IMV con- cles, while IMV is unsure about the benets siders the ultra-ne particles to be the most reaped by retrotting vans. hazardous, in agreement with most other Diesel particles - a health hazard 17 The particles task force report, 2003 The Danish government nished a task force with lter is decreased-while revenue-neutral report on the problem of particles in June models, where duties are increased on vehi- 2003. This report has disregarded the as- cles without lters and decreased for those sumption from 2001 that only 22 early deaths with, are paid no heed to. Though not men- would be sparred. Instead, 450 early deaths tioned, it is probable that this is not taken into are considered probable (please see the intro- account because it is viewed as being con- duction of the pamphlet). Furthermore, dif- trary to the tax freeze policy of the govern- ferent possible means are considered in pro- ment, mentioned previously. In conclusion, moting particle lters. Yet, the statement con- the report does not recommend any direct cludes that subsidies do not bring forth the initiatives on a national level. It is merely desired effect. Differentiated taxes is still re- positive in regards to municipalities that wish jected because it is believed that it will result to introduce environmental zones, and it un- in loss of revenue as the tax on vehicles derlines the need for more information. The government’s subsidy scheme The Danish government-a minority govern- With prices averaging Euro 7,000 for tting ment-made an agreement with two other lters on heavy vehicles, there will be parties of the right wing in Spring 2003 to enough to subsidise 1,000 vehicles per grant a total of Euro 4 million over a two- year-not taking into account expenses for year period to support the tting of particle the administration of the scheme. This lters. The compromise can be perceived equals 2.5 per thousand of the diesel-pow- as a result of the pressure to abate the prob- ered eet of cars, or 2% of all heavy diesel lems caused by particles. The contribution, vehicles. This should be compared to the however, is far too little to truly make a dif- Ecological Council’s proposal of subsidis- ference. The amount promised has yet not ing 48,000 vehicles per year-even with a been implemented as a concrete scheme, 50% subsidy-corresponding to one-eighth though the plan is to offer a 30% subsidy. of the whole diesel-powered eet of cars. The need for political action This pamphlet depicts an applicable techni- multaneously, the registration fee as well cal solution to the serious health hazard that as the green ownership tax should be differ- small particles represent. However, it re- entiated according to the particle emission quires more political determination and ac- level of each vehicle model. The diesel oil tion than what has yet been seen. The Eco- tax should also be differentiated to encour- logical Council recommends that the Dan- age the market to buy diesel with low-level ish Parliament adopts the proposal to subsi- sulphur - max 10 ppm of sulphur. dise particle lters, nancing it with a small Initiatives to promote particle lters should increase in the diesel oil tax and the weight not be limited to cover only heavy vehicles, duty of diesel vehicles without lters. Si- as is seen presently with the government’s 18 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004 subsidy scheme and the plans for introduc- also has great importance in connection to ing environmental zoning in Copenhagen. the greenhouse effect. In solving the prob- Especially the smaller vans contribute to lems of particle emission-as well as re- a large (and increasing) extent to particle ducing nitrogen oxide emissions-everything pollution. In several EU countries, private speaks in favour of a transition towards die- diesel-powered cars also contribute consid- sel power, also for new private cars. Chang- erably. ing from petrol to diesel saves 25-30% on Pressure should also be placed on the EU fuel consumption and all new cars that have to ensure a speedy introduction of stringent low fuel consumption (for example the VW norms for particle emissions from private Lupo) are diesel powered. This-along with cars as well as non-road vehicles such as trafc limiting measures-could decrease the tractors, locomotives, contractor’s machin- excessive emission of CO2 while we wait ery, etc. The introduction of particle lters for the hydrogen car. Want to know more? • M.Wrang, O. Hertel, F. Palmgreen, P.Wåhlin, O.Rosschou-Nielsen, S.Loft: Helbredsef- fekter af trakrelaterede ultrane partikler, Ugeskrift for Læger, 19.8.02. (The Effect of Trafc-related Ultra-ne Particles on Health-in Danish) • Danish National Environmental Research Institute: The State of the Environment in Denmark, 2001, www.dmu.dk • Denmark’s Road Safety and Transport Agency: Large-scale Research on Particle Filters for Heavy Diesel-powered Vehicles in Odense, 2002 (In Danish and English) • Denmark’s Road Safety and Transport Agency: Partikelltre fra tunge køretøjer - rapport fra en arbejdsgruppe, 2001. Available at www.fstyr.dk (Particle lters on heavy vehi- cles-a report from a working group-in Danish) • Ministry of Transport: Partikelredegørelse, 2003. Available at www.trm.dk (Taskforce report concerning particles-in Danish) • Danish Environmental Protection Agency: Sundhedsmæssig vurdering af luftforurening fra vejtrak, Miljøprojekt nr. 352, 1997. Available at www.mst.dk (Assessment of Health Effects by Ttrafc-related Air Pollution-in Danish with an English summary) • Health Costs due to Road Trafc-related Air Pollution, Seethaler et al., Federal Depart- ment of Environment, Transport, Energy and Communications, Bern, Switzerland as well as WHO, regional ofce of Europe, 1999, (Study of Switzerland, France and Austria), and The Lancet, August 2000 • The Danish Ecological Council: A proposal for introducing particle lters through green taxes and subsidies, as well as press releases and articles about the diesel particle problem. Available at www.ecocouncil.dk (partly in Danish) • Environmental Assessment Institute: Partikelltre på tunge dieselkøretøjer, 2002. Avail- able at www.imv.dk (Particle lters on heavy diesel-powered vehicles-in Danish) • Diesel pollution in India. Available at www.cseindia.org Diesel particles - a health hazard 19 Diesel particles - a health hazard To all appearances, small particles belong to the pollutants presenting the big- gest health hazards. Particles come especially from diesel-powered vehicles. According to researchers, particles cause thousands of early deaths each year in the big cities in Denmark alone, and up to 1,250 of these deaths could be prevented by tting particle lters on diesel-powered vehicles. That is more than deaths caused by trafc accidents. Especially the elderly are affected. In addition, the small particles seem to aggravate asthma incidences, includ- ing the many children with asthma. What makes the small particles so very dangerous is that they can enter the smallest of vessels of the lungs. There is a solution within sight to this grave health hazard. The solution is called particle lters, but they will not come automatically. It requires initiatives in the form of legislation, green taxes and subsidies. The EU is introducing stricter regulations regarding particle emission from heavy vehicles from 2006, though only for new vehicles. It will therefore take many years to abate the problem this way. In the present pamphlet, the Danish Ecological Council offers a number of specic proposals on how to further the introduction of lters on diesel vehicles. The Danish government has taken a small step in the right direction by establishing a subsidy scheme for particle lters. Yet the amount allocated is too small and, because it is not followed up by setting taxes on polluting vehicles, it will have little effect. Tomorrow’s Environment is Created Today The Danish Ecological Council is an asso- ciation that works for a sustainable devel- opment with social justice and human The Danish Ecological Council well-being. We organise public information Blegdamsvej 4B campaigns, collect documentation and 2200 København N invite debates. We also publish a magazine Tlf: 33 15 09 77 in Danish “Global Økologi”. You can sup- Fax: 33 15 09 71 port the Council by becoming member. In E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org addition to the membership, you will receive Internet: www.ecocouncil.dk “Global Økologi”. 20 The Danish Ecological Council - August 2004
"Diesel particles - a health hazard"