Every year, particulate filters are illegally removed from tens of thousands of diesel cars and this is detected during automotive inspections. However, in Belgium, the technical inspections do not detect this illegal removal because its measures are obsolete, reported the website of VRT, deredactie.be, on Monday. Filters retain toxic fine particles and soot particle emissions from diesel cars.
Since 2011, it has become almost impossible to meet the strict EU emission standards without a particulate filter. Most new diesel cars are equipped with this. Sometimes these filters break, which can cause serious engine problems. They have to be replaced, which costs about 2,000 euros. A cheaper but illegal solution exists: simply remove the particulate filter.
The VRT journalists decided to test the Belgian technical inspection. After removing the particulate filter from their car, the technical inspection concluded that their vehicle was nevertheless completely in order. This is however illegal and results in about 90% of additional fine particles and soot being released into the air, emphasised Flemish reporters. It is estimated that about 2,500 premature deaths in Belgium and more than 450,000 in Europe are caused by the emission of these substances.
The inspectors recognise that their inspection methods are at least 10 years behind schedule.