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Cars Invaded Moscow: Scientists Beating The Alarm
Moscow has managed to outstrip New York and take one of the world leading positions in the number of cars per square kilometre. By the end of November 2006 the number of cars in Moscow is expected to exceed 3 million 200 thousand; scientists worry that busy traffic in the capital of Russia poses a threat of ecological catastrophe. In project there exist various prospects of solving the problem: paid roads in central parts of the city, the toughest control over petrol quality, ban on transit for drivers from other regions. Authorities are planning to put most of the ideas into life within the shortest period of time.
The growth of auto transport quantity in the capital has undoubtedly gone out of control: in rush hours Moscow roads are overflown with more than 850 thousand cars: 4/5 of all atmosphere polluting emissions in the city have fallen at auto transport, hence many of the pollutive enterprises were compelled to leave the areas within the Moscow Ring Road. Ecologists claim that the situation with poisonous emissions is critical and Muscovites' lives are under potential threat.
Cars moving through the centre of the city blow out around 150 thousand tons of emissions annually, while industrial factories located in the central districts of Moscow – only 2 thousand tons. At the present moment the level of nitrogen dioxide and small suspended particles in the capital’s atmosphere has equalled with that in Paris, Madrid, and New York.
70% of all cars in Moscow are quite old and were made in Russia which means that many of them have gasoline-engine not even meeting the Euro-1 standards. 15% are used foreign-made cars with engines matching the standards of Euro-2 and only 15% of all new foreign-made cars meet the standards of Euro-3 accepted in Europe. Following European auto standards for Russia means more than modernisation – it’s a matter of survival.
Ecologists are also discussing the need of tough petrol quality control in the capital of Russia aimed at avoidance of additive agents found in most of petrol tests held on local petrol stations. The most spread agent found by experts is tetraethyl lead which was proved to change genetic characteristics of biological organisms, including humans.
A strict ban on transit of freight transport in Moscow is another potential measure. Some authorities are sure that 80% of freight traffic is constituted by illegal auto transport, including private organisations from Moldova, Dagestan, Ukraine, and other countries and regions. Representatives of ecological policy claim that next year a special law restricting driving on several roads and districts of the city will appear. First of all, such law is planned to apply to the most problematic and critical areas of Moscow.
One more idea seen by authorities as an effective solution of the “cars crisis” is paid access to the centre of the capital, toughening control over technical condition of cars, and systematisation of traffic on the main thoroughfares of the city.
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