Does the UAE Need a Toxicity Tax?

11 March 2018

Lab Chat

As the United Arab Emirates (UAE) plans to move into a more sustainable future, is it time that older cars received a toxicity tax? With air pollution and carbon emissions impacting health, well-being and the environment, petrol and diesel cars are often seen to be the main culprit. So, should they become a thing of the past? And, should UAE car owners have to pay extra? Read on to see if it’s time…

Is the toxicity tax the best way to go?

Ten years ago, Dubai was ranked one of the worst in the world for contribution to air pollution, but has anything changed since then? Well, the 2017 State of Environment Report suggested that air pollution was one of the biggest environmental threats to public health. With this is mind, is it time the UAE introduced a toxicity charge on the most polluted vehicles?

Efforts to improve air quality are important across the globe. That’s why in 2017 London introduced the “T-Charge” and diesel scrappage to tackle poor air quality and vehicle emissions. This was said to affect 10,000 vehicles and was the beginning of restrictions in the UK.

These financial penalties are said to put drivers off older vehicles. The hope is to incentivise individuals to buy more eco-friendly cars – like hybrid or electric. If drivers no longer opt for high-emitting cars, it would mean less ‘toxic’ vehicles on the road.

Car pollutions in the UAE

The toxins from car emissions have negative effects on the environment and air quality. Pollutants like nitrogen dioxide and CO2 contribute to poor health. Premature deaths, heart disease, cancers and lung problems are all connected to poor air and toxic chemicals.

So, when people purchase large-engine cars, they use up significant amounts of fuel and give out higher rates of emissions. Moving forward then, the question is if it’s better to tax these drivers or to move towards greener alternatives.

Is there a sustainable vehicle alternative?

In Dubai officials have announced benefits for electric car owners – including charging cars for free until 2019, free electric vehicle registration and designated free green parking. This is a major boost to alternatively fuelled vehicles and could lead to a big shake up on UAE roads.

Also, reducing the use of private cars and increasing public transport is very much encouraged. The government has even practiced what they preach by getting involved in Dubai’s Car Free Day, which saw many officials jumping on the metro for their commute.

Looking towards more long-term solutions, a toxicity tax would create more tangible consequences to petrol and diesel car owners. However, introducing more car free days and encouraging low emission vehicles plays a role in improving air quality and the environment in the UAE.

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