How the Rich Countries’ Old Cars Affects Climate Change in Poor States

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BBC reports that rich countries like Japan, Europe, and the US are ‘dumping’ their old and dirty cars to developing countries.

Between 2015 to 2018, some 14 million cars were exported to developing countries. More than half of these went to Africa, and the rest goes to Asia and Latin America according to a report that the UN Environment Programme published.

These cars are also emitting 90 per cent more carbon dioxide and fine particulate matter, nitrogen oxides which are a major source of air pollution.  

These cars are also stripped of valuable parts like airbags and anti-lock brake systems, and catalytic converters, making them unsafe to drive and failing to meet minimum safety and environmental standards of their exporting countries.

The article says that these imports may be the cause of the rising number of accidents in African and Asian countries.

In Zimbabwe, and 30 countries in Africa, they do not impose age limits on cars, so these polluting and unsafe cars remain on the roads for as long as possible.

Stientje van Veldhoven, the Netherlands minister for the environment, expressed concerns about these trade practices.  

To address this problem would require a coordinated European approach and close cooperation between the European and African governments and actions on both ends of the supply chain, according to Mr Veldhoven.

Developed countries should not export these unroadworthy vehicles and importing countries should have put in place some minimum standards a long time ago he added.

Climate scientists have warned us time and again about the impending dangers of climate change. Poor and developing countries – countries that are recipients of these old and dirty cars, are the ones most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

One may wonder after reading the news, whether the climate change information and warnings we regularly hear goes deep enough to inspire change in behaviour or action starting from the highest level of governments, to industries, and the community especially those who are most vulnerable to the effects of climate change.

As Mr Veldhoven says, the “onus is not only on the exporting country, its really a joint responsibility”.

To read the entire news article, click on the link below:

Source Citation:

McGrath, M. (2020, October 27). Climate change: ‘Dangerous and dirty’ used cars sold to Africa. BBC News. Retrieved from


  • By BluesyPete – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
  • By – Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0,
  • By dave_7 from Lethbridge, Canada – Nissan Cefiro, CC BY-SA 2.0,

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