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The Maldives Strategic Action Plan which was formally rolled out by the President’s Office on 1st October 2019, also targets to establish standards for fuel quality (4.3, Policy 1.4) by 2023, there is also a related Action (4.4, Policy 2.4b) on providing recommendations to the relevant authorities on setting fuel standards for vessels, vehicles and aircrafts, and the Ministry of Environment will be the lead implementing agency. This Strategic Action Plan of the Government of Maldives is a central policy framework and planning document that will guide the overall development direction of the Maldives until 2023. It consolidates the current Government’s manifesto pledges with existing sectoral priorities and served as the main implementation and monitoring tool to track the progress of the delivery of the government policies and development priorities.
This study used an integrated approach of emission inventory and modeling to assess the air quality improvement if the clean fuel and engines were introduced to transport sector on both land and water.
The annual average concentrations of PM2.5 on the street were estimated to increase from 15.6 µg/m3 in 2020 to 23.6 µg/m3 in 2040 due an increase in vehicle population and fuel consumption in the BAU case. If the standard of low sulfur fuel is implemented in 2022, the PM2.5 concentration in 2040 would be reduced to 20.1 µg/m3 (15% reduction from BAU). Moreover, with an implementation of clean vehicle standard in 2022, PM2.5 concentration in 2040 was estimated to be as low as 10.9 µg/m3 or 54% reduction from BAU.
In terms of benefit-to-cost ratio, implementing the low sulfur fuel can provide health benefits about 1.6 times higher than an additional cost of using low sulfur fuels. For clean vehicle standard, the health benefit was estimated to be 2.1 times higher than an additional cost of low sulfur fuels and the new Euro V for motorcycles and Euro VI for other vehicles in Malé.
For policy recommendation, it was suggested that 10 ppm sulfur fuel standard with Euro V standard for motorcycles and Euro VI standard for the new engines for all inland and marine engines could be implemented in 2022 since the Maldives has imported all fuel and engines. Other countries, such as India, have implemented Euro VI standard for vehicles and Euro V for motorcycles in 2020 making these engines available in the market. However, other supporting policies were also recommended to ease the transition to clean fuel and clean engine standards, i.e. the policy on the limited ages or banning of the imported second-handed engines.
Finally, introducing 10 ppm sulfur fuel and clean engine standards in the Maldives would not only benefit in term of reduction in mortality rate, but also benefit in term of reducing greenhouse gas emission and lowering the acid deposition problem in the country, thus, protecting natural ecosystem which is one of the major factors for promoting tourism in the country. Moreover, introducing low sulfur fuel would provide additional benefits in term of enabling the existing fleets to be retrofitted with the after-treatment devices, such as Diesel Particulate Filter (DPF), which can further reduce emission of the existing vehicle and marine fleet to a minimum level.