NEWS

Dodger drivers aid city smog

More than 500,000 cars traveling on Attica’s roads are producing a variety of carcinogenic fumes because it is too easy for drivers to dodge rules requiring them to submit their vehicles for regular checks, experts told Kathimerini. «Based on average estimates, at least 500,000 cars in Attica and another 200,000 in the rest of Greece need to change their converters,» Costas Kalpadakis, the head of a company that collects and recycles catalytic converters, told Kathimerini. A catalytic converter helps reduce fuel emissions as it treats the exhaust before it leaves the car and removes much of the pollution. «Today in Athens there are some 1.5 million cars with converters. More than half should have been checked or had their converters changed,» added Kalpadakis. Laws require drivers to regularly submit their cars to checks but the rules are not strictly monitored so many motorists simply ignore them. Experts said that cheap imitations of converters sold in the marketplace contribute to the pollution problem. These copies have not been certified in terms of their quality but drivers buy them because they’re cheaper than authentic converters. According to a study by the Technical College of Thessaloniki (TEI), 40 percent of vehicles have not gone through KTEO (Vehicle Inspection Centers) tests. The law specifies that cars need to undergo a KTEO inspection every few years. Drivers also need to check the level of pollution their cars emit every year by obtaining cards that confirms that exhaust levels are within allowable limits. About four in 10 cars (42 percent) do not have these cards.