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New UN report details environmental impacts of used vehicles

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A new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) has said that millions of used cars, vans and minibuses exported from Europe, the United States (U.S.) and Japan to the developing world are of poor quality, contributing significantly to air pollution and hindering efforts to mitigate the effects of climate change.

The report, unveiled yesterday, showed that between 2015 and 2018, 14 million used light-duty vehicles were exported worldwide. Some 80 per cent went to low- and middle-income countries, with more than half going to Africa.

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The report, based on an in-depth analysis of 146 countries, including Nigeria, found that some two-thirds of them have ‘weak’ or ‘very weak’ policies to regulate the import of used vehicles. However, it also shows that where countries have implemented measures to govern the import of used vehicles – notably age and emissions standards – these give them to access high-quality used vehicles, including hybrid and electric cars, at affordable prices.

It said that African countries imported the largest number of used vehicles (40 per cent) in the period studied, followed by countries in Eastern Europe (24 per cent), Asia-Pacific (15 per cent), the Middle East (12 per cent) and Latin America (nine per cent).

“Cleaning up the global vehicle fleet is a priority to meet global and local air quality and climate targets,” said Inger Andersen, Executive Director of UNEP.

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