Slow progress on phasing out leaded petrol in SADC
afrol News/SARDC, 8 July
- Southern African still has leaded petrol flowing into tanks and fuming out in exhausts even after expiry of agreed deadline to use more environmentally friendly fuels by the beginning of 2006.
Botswana, Mauritius, Namibia, South Africa and Zambia have stopped using leaded fuel in line with a commitment made by African countries in 2002 to use only unleaded petrol, which is less harmful to the environment and human health.
Mauritius was the first Southern African Development Community (SADC) member state to phase out leaded fuel in August 2002.
In line with the commitment made in 2002, Zambian government recently advised all stakeholders in the petroleum sector that from April 2008 they planned to provide a complete range of lead-free fuels to suit all motor vehicles.
Two types of lead-free petrol will be available on the Zambian market and these are unleaded petrol and lead replacement petrol (LRP).
With this new development, only Unleaded 91 and LRP 91 petrol will be sold in Zambia.
Both fuels are rated at 91 in the fuel octane rating.
The move to remove lead from petrol in SADC gained momentum after the 2002 World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD) in South Africa, which resulted in the launch of a Partnership for Clean Fuels and Vehicles.
The partnership seeks to improve air quality across the developing world by encouraging deployment of cleaner fuels, such as unleaded and low sulphur petrol and diesel, and improved technologies such as catalytic converters that can significantly cut exhaust fumes.
Progress towards a complete phase-out of leaded fuel in SADC region has however been slow, with most countries saying they are not ready for the switch to the so-called "cleaner" fuels.
For example, Mozambique and Zimbabwe say they will phase out leaded petrol only after their first deal with logistical problems.
Zimbabwe, with a shattered economy has been struggling even to meet its domestic demands, with government-controlled import and pricing running and competing parallel with the 'more reliable black market'.
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