EMBARQ Andino kicks off campaign against used car imports in Peru
EMBARQ Andino joined forces with the Arequipa, Peru-based citizen’s initiative, Arequipa Te Queremos (Arequipa We Love You), to launch a nationwide campaign against a bill which would allow for the importation of used cars, without any sort of quality control regulations.
Seeking to raise public awareness of the health problems resulting from the imports of older, high-emissions vehicles into the country, the campaign against the proposed “National Vehicular Certification System” law, or 1165/2011-CR, was officially launched on May 7 with a press conference at the National University of San Agustin, in Arequipa.
As part of the campaign, EMBARQ and Arequipa Te Queremos created an online petition on Change.org, where citizens can voice their opposition to the proposed law and sign a petition that will be distributed to all authorities involved and decision-makers in the Peruvian Congress. So far the petition has received more than 302 signatures, and others have echoed its message across social networks and the media.
Making the case against used car imports
At an event well-attended by local journalists, EMBARQ Andino director Jorge Jara outlined the technical reasons why the law should not be approved by the Congress of the Republic of Peru. Here are a few:
- In Arequipa, 89.8 tons of air pollutants are emitted per year, 76% of which come from automobiles.
- This year, it is estimated that the figure will rise to 130,000 tons, making Arequipa the second most polluted city in Latin America.
- The average age of the Peruvian automobile is 17 years, giving Peru’s automobile fleet the distinction of being one of the oldest in Latin America.
- In the city of Arequipa, 84% of vehicles on the roads are more than 15 years old; technical emissions standards recommend cars be in operation for no more than 10 years.
- The greatest number of traffic fatalities in Peru occured in the years when there were major import flows of used vehicles (between 1995 and 2000).
- In Arequipa the level of PM2.5, particulate matter that can enter the lungs and cause serious health problems, is eight times the WHO recommended standard, which translates into a 17% increase in the risk of premature death (EMBARQ Andino).
The importation of used vehicles into Peru, through Zofratacna (known in English as the Tacna Free Zone), ceased in December 2010 and through the Centers for Export, Transformation, Industry, Trade and Services of Ilo, Paita, and Matarani, Peru, in December 2012. However, the signing of the bill into law would allow for the resumption of such activity.
Adding their voices
Several government authorities and NGOs have also spoken out against the bill, including Peru's Ministry of Transport and Communications; the Ministry of the Environment; Clean Air Committee; the Peruvian Association of Consumers (ASPEC); the Municipality of Lima; and other NGO's specializing in transportation, road safety, and the environment.
“If passed,” warned Jara, “this bill would jeopardize the efforts of the national and local governments to promote sustainable transport solutions that reduce air pollution, traffic congestion, and road safety in Peru’s cities.”