On April 6th,2009 Bermuda's Transport Control Department (TCD) began a year-long programme, through Bermuda Emissions Control Limited (BECL), in order to "embrace internationally recognised, environmental protection standards."

 

 

The history of this programme began in 1989, when Mr. Donal Smith happened to catch a few tourists coughing on the exhaust of the vehicle in front of them. From this chance encounter, the idea of BECL was formed.

 

From 1989 to 1996 Mr. Klausmeier, an environmental analyst, was commissioned to conduct a study of emissions in Bermuda.

Probing test: Emissions test is performed by inserting a probe into the exhaust pipe which collects a sample of the exhaust emissions and analyses them.

 

On April 6th, Bermuda's Transport Control Department (TCD) began a year-long programme, through Bermuda Emissions Control Limited (BECL), in order to "embrace internationally recognised, environmental protection standards."

 

The history of this programme began in 1989, when Mr. Donal Smith happened to catch a few tourists coughing on the exhaust of the vehicle in front of them. From this chance encounter, the idea of BECL was formed.

 

From 1989 to 1996 Mr. Klausmeier, an environmental analyst, was commissioned to conduct a study of emissions in Bermuda.

 

In 1996, Mr Donal Smith incorporated BECL and in 1997, Mr. Klausmeier's observations had been compiled into The Klausmeier Report, which was presented to the Government.

From 1997 to 2001 there were ongoing discussions between Government and Mr. Smith, and in 2001, Government contracted BECL to conduct a random sampling of vehicles to get an idea of exhaust emissions.

 

The samples showed that when the results were extrapolated, 70 percent of vehicles in Bermuda wouldn't meet the emission standards of North Carolina, USA.

 

In response, Government requested BECL to create an efficient testing system, with an overall goal to determine emission standards for Bermuda.

 

In 2003, BECL hired officers and administrators to begin implementing a programme, with an official start-up date of April 1st, 2009.

 

The construction of the new testing facilities began in 2007 and in 2009 the programme finally began.

 

The programme is designed for all vehicles; however the main focus right now is correcting the high bike emissions.

 

In the bike testing process, there are four positions.

 

The first deals with checking the license number and documents, confirming this is the correct bike.

 

Manual checks of the engine, lights, indicators and horn are also carried out here.

 

Next, the bike's horsepower (for four stroke bikes only) and sound are measured on the dynometer.

 

The bike is run until it reaches 20 miles per hour, and the sound is then measured in decibels, through a microphone.

 

If the sound reaches higher than 90 decibels, it fails. The bike's horsepower is also checked, having to be under 15hp.

 

Thirdly, the brake test occurs, and lastly, the emissions test.

 

A probe is inserted into the end of the exhaust pipe, in order to record the level of hydrocarbon, carbon monoxide and carbon dioxide released in parts per million (ppm).

 

A photo is then snapped as proof to confirm the bike was actually tested and the results are printed, for the customer, and recorded into the TCD system.

 

Ian Hind, Director of Operations at BECL, stated, "The data we have collected so far is telling us exactly what we expected.

 

"In comparison to cars and four-stroke bikes, two-stroke bikes are gross polluters.

 

"Right now we are just providing Government with as much data as we can, and it is up to them what will be done, if anything, with two-stroke bikes, in the future."

 

During the interview, a two-stroke, year old Liberty released 23,850 ppm of hydrocarbons (basically raw fuel and oil).

 

Well kept, four-stroke bikes usually produce just over 200 ppm, and cars under 200 ppm.

 

Mr. Hind explained, "Right now it's just the first year and we are gathering data that will assist Government in creating a standard for the future.

 

"Currently, a bike can 'fail' however it is still allowed on the road, until the new bike laws and standards are introduced."

 

Mr. Hind continued to explain, "The system we have created is definitely behind the bigger countries, but way above the smaller jurisdictions, with the process verging on unique."

 

Mr. Hind then described the programme as "consistent, transparent, repeatable, efficient, accountable, informative and educational."

 

So far this seems to be true, as BECL has received cards, thanking the officers and BECL for their "wonderful, pleasant staff and customer-friendly atmosphere."

 

Mr. Hind boasted, "The programme has been successful with obtaining data, so far."

 

Most of BECL's objectives have been met, including "supporting the environmental initiatives designed to sustain and enhance Bermuda's fragile environment, and we are just being wary of the population of two-stroke bikes."

By Jillian Rinehimer, Bermuda High –School for Girls

From :http://www.royalgazette.com/article/20090702/ISLAND07/307029922