Edmonton

Too many vehicles on Alberta roads offset emission gains

More cars and trucks on Alberta's roads in the last decade are offsetting the fact the vehicles are spewing fewer emissions per trip, says a new study.

Environmentalists call for revamp of drive-through charity event

More cars and trucks on Alberta's roads in the last nine years are offsetting the fact the vehicles are spewing fewer emissions per trip compared to 10 years ago, says a new study.

A study released Tuesday by the Clean Air Strategic Alliance measured exhaust emissions from 60,000 cars and light trucks in Edmonton, Calgary, Red Deer and Canmore in the fall of 2006.

It found a small number of vehicles were causing a large proportion of emissions compared to a similar survey in 1998. These include cars and light trucks built since 1996 that are releasing five times more pollutants than when they were new because of a lack of maintenance or tampering with pollution-control devices.

The report also found three-quarters of vehicles carried only a driver.
 
Environment Minister Rob Renner said Tuesday he will be reviewing options to address emissions from older vehicles.

The province will also look at laws that prevent tampering with advanced emissions systems and offer incentives to scrap vehicles that are releasing high levels of pollutants.

The study comes as environmentalists in Edmonton called for an annual charity event to be revamped to save on vehicle emissions.

The Bright Nights Festival saw 250,000 people drive through Hawrelak Park to enjoy lit-up holiday displays in December 2007. Admission fees fund school lunch programs and donations of canned goods are collected for the food bank.

Heather Inglis, a board member of the Toxics Watch Society of Alberta, supports the fundraising but would said she'd like it done with less impact on the environment, such as allowing people to enjoy the lights on foot.

"I just think it's wasteful. It's a waste of power and it's creating pollution," she said.

Lori Farquharson, producer of Bright Nights, said it's improved moving vehicles through the park to reduce the time spent idling but will consider more nights for pedestrians. Right now, only the opening night of the festival allows people to walk around the displays.