Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Had an Emission Citation... Don’t be surprised!!

As I was searching for Carbon emissions and climate change in Singapore , I was surprised by one of the ways Singapore Pollution control department (PCD) in Singapore’s Government  used to control and reduce Air Pollution  specially from vehicles including cars and motorcycles .chemical emissions coming out of vehicles effecting the air quality and peoples health are large, most important pollution among them which are monitored: Particle maters (PM2.5), Carbon Monoxide (Co), Hydrogen Chloride (HCl), Oxides of Nitrogen (NOx) and Sulphur Dioxide (SO2).

What PCD did to minimize and control these pollutants is to figure out a way to determine the vehicles and motorists who were not implementing the emission standards and emitting more pollutants from roads to the air.  They used a remote sensing technology that enabled them to measure the emissions emitted from these vehicles while they were moving.

Remote sensing technology, created in 1987 by Don Stedman and Gary Bishop at the University of Denver, utilizes the differing light absorption by the emitted gases. It starts with a laser light source that has two light frequencies that will hit the gasses coming out of the exhaust reflected to a detector measuring them, and several calculation happen to determine the concentration of carbon monoxide along with oxides of nitrogen and other gasses in the monitor determine if these gases exceeds the standard and send flash light to capture the vehicles plate number.

California found to use the same technology were if a car was spotted, the information will be sent to the bureau of automotive repair (BAR) and after few days, a letter of notification will be sent to the car holder’s mail notifying him/her to a vehicle repairing program to fix the car’s emission issue or a ticket will be issued to the holder’s name.

These days, many car owners try to overcome changing the catalytic system (exhaust sys) by going to smog shops and hold of the emissions until they pass the smog check when renewing their car certificate. Eventually, this technology will help in lowering pollution emitted in the air and maintain a green environment.

Thanks for Christopher Myers for editing this blog.


  1. I remember as a child, my mother had a 1969 VW Beetle that just couldn't pass DEQ. Finally, the mechanic came with her and waited in the parking lot where he would keep readjusting the engine until it finally passed inspection. It took about eight or nine tries. When she finally passed, he readjusted everything back because the car wouldn't run at the settings necessary to pass DEQ. With this technology, that won't be possible anymore.

  2. now days, new cars will put a Check engine sign in the dashboard that will bother you each time you take a trip till you go and change the catalytic system as I did before 2 months with my 2001 Camry, an expensive fix Costed like 600$.

  3. Cars from the 90's and on now do not require actual testing of the exhaust. These newer cars allow for inspectors to simply plug in a device to a port underneath the dash and get accurate results. I'm not aware of anybody being able to misuse this yet so I think its a step in the right direction at keeping people honest and ensuring cars on the road meet the standards. Older car owners can sometimes get around DEQ standards by pouring a chemical in with the gas without meeting standards.

    The speaker we had made me think a bit more about how important it is what are cars are emitting from the exhaust. Makes me dislike the workarounds that car owners have found even more. I'm not up to date on these chemicals or if they are still sold in auto shops. Would be nice to know they have been or at least will become illegal.


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