The AQLPA: A Pioneer in Old Vehicle Recycling in Canada
In 2002, the Association québécoise de lutte contre la pollution atmosphérique (AQLPA), with the help of its partners, launched Clear the Air!, one of the genesis vehicle recycling programs in Canada. The objective was to get old, polluting vehicles off the roads and thus contribute to increasing air quality while promoting the use of more sustainable means of transportation.
As soon as the 1990s, the AQLPA was mandated by the Quebec government to lay the foundations of a motor vehicle inspection and maintenance program, of which the scrapping of the oldest vehicles (the most harmful to the environment and human health) constituted an integral part. For six years, the federal and provincial governments, public transportation corporations and the private sector jointly funded the Clear the Air! program. In 2011, the Quebec government undertook to carry on with the endeavour.
Clear the Air!, An Economic and Environmental Necessity
Ridding Our Roads of Old Rides Is A Mighty Good Thing for the Environment as Well as Our Own Health and Safety.
Why recycle old jalopies? Quite simply because they are very expensive to keep up, often consume more fuel than later model vehicles, but especially, are a major source of pollution and contribute to forming smog, that invasive, infamous threat to large urban centres and one of the chief causes for premature death of several thousands of citizens every year. Not to mention chronic mechanical problems that can spell danger for drivers’ and passengers’ safety.
In 2008, the federal government introduced the Canadian vehicle recycling program called Retire Your Ride, to be applied coast to coast, and administered in each province by various groups. To carry out the program, Environment Canada mandated the Clean Air Foundation (which has since been renamed to Summerhill Impact) to establish partnerships until the program’s expiry, i.e., March 31, 2011. In February, 2009, the AQLPA signed a two-year agreement with Summerhill Impact and became the organization responsible for implementing the program in Quebec. From 2009 to 2011, Clear the Air! was thus Quebec’s contribution to the Retire Your Ride program; then in 2011, the Quebec government made the commitment to fund the Quebec-based program up to 2013.
On the strength of its expertise and its long-time partnerships with transportation authorities and other relevant organizations, the AQLPA is fully confident of attaining the objective of retiring 10,000 old vehicles per year from Quebec roads for the program’s duration. In fact, from June, 2009 to March, 2011, double that cumulative amount, i.e., almost 40,000 vehicles, were taken off the roads, which produced enormous environmental gains.
As the Quebec automotive population ages, it becomes essential for us to safely dispose of the oldest, most polluting vehicles.
Quebec is one of the few jurisdictions in North America that have not yet implemented any compulsory inspection program for light vehicles. For over 15 years, the AQLPA has emphasized the importance of and lobbied for enacting such legislation, of which the "recycling" and "repair support" facets would stand out as major components. Until then, the Clear the Air! program allows us to compensate by offering motorists incentives to encourage them to let go of their old jalopies.