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On-Board Diagnostics Training Workshop held in Ciudad Juarez

Posted on January 30, 2014

On-Board Diagnostics Training Workshop held in Ciudad Juarez

Area auto repair shops included in emission reducing efforts

On November 25 through 29, an initial introductory On-Board Diagnostics (OBD II) training course was held in Ciudad Juarez. The objective of the course was to inform local instructors of the new technologies available to make these assessments and to train them as active agents of environmental and health awareness, to emphasize the importance of caring for the environment.

Judith Trujillo, Assistant Director of Transportation at the Air Quality Directorate in Ciudad Juarez, explained that "one of the resources available to governments to reduce pollutant emissions is a motor vehicle emissions testing (MVET) program. However, an MVET program that doesn't take into account the auto repair shops is flawed; that's the rationale behind these courses –achieving that synergy. We want auto repair shops to understand the reason behind emissions testing and how to prevent pollutant emissions, so that vehicles that visit a testing center don't have any problems passing their inspections. Above all, we want the public to understand the benefits of a MVET program. By reducing emissions we reduce health problems and provide for more efficient fuel consumption." 

This program targets auto repair shops as another link in the chain of environmental awareness, since these establishments have direct contact with motorists.

"This course is a great achievement, as the motor vehicle inspections performed in the different Mexican states have to be supplemented with maintenance training programs, so that vehicle users can be confident that repair shops will use trained personnel to address the issues identified in vehicles that have difficulty meeting the standards. Motor vehicles that release high pollutant emissions always have mechanical problems that need to addressed and those problems may not be easily detected, which is why we are providing these courses. You never stop learning in this sector; variations exist depending on the makes, models and available technologies, but these courses will surely provide auto technicians the tools required to address them", said Jose Luis Manzano, an environmental consultant specialized in motor vehicle emissions control who acted as course coordinator.

The problem is compounded when it comes to border areas, where the soil, air, and water resources are common, but not the regulations or the training available, as different countries, cultures and views are involved.  However, comparing experiences provides benefits in the learning process. 

This program provided automotive maintenance instructors from CECATI Industrial Job Training Centers and representatives of local auto repair shops training that will enable them to replicate the lessons learned. Agustin Griego Flores, an automotive maintenance instructor at CECATI 199 who attended the course, said: "it is important to be up to date in our training to ensure the best performance and to impart our students cutting edge skills and knowledge that will reflect in their practice and will help reduce pollution in the community".

The training was carried out in two phases: the classroom instruction was held at the City Express Hotel, while the hands-on portion took place at the CECATI 199 campus.

"The participation of  CECATI schools is very important, specially the 199 campus, which hosted this event and provided us great support. They have available high end equipment that was of great benefit to us", said Jose Luis Manzano, one of the attendees. 

Jorge Luis Chavarre Padilla, an instructor at CECATI #137 in Chihuahua City, said "the training for instructors is excellent, the facilities are top-notch; we were able to compare and corroborate the statistics relating to emissions in Mexico City and we saw that the level of gas emissions being released along the border is very high, due to the non-use of catalytic converters and the lack of awareness about the harm we are causing to our natural environment."

One of the components required to comprehensively assess the impact of a pollutant emissions prevention program has to do with the correct operation of a motor vehicle inspection center. It must be noted that the vehicle population is usually responsible for more than 95% of local carbon monoxide emissions, since 50% to 80% of ozone precursor emissions are released into the atmosphere on a daily basis. The implementation of motor vehicle emissions testing programs reduces carbon monoxide and hydrocarbon emissions by up to 30%, and more stringent programs achieve additional reductions of about 10% in the amount of nitrogen oxides, said in an interview Jorge Hernandez, a specialist with the Border Environment Cooperation Commission (BECC). 

This foundation course provided training on new automotive technologies to more than 25 instructors in order to help eradicate the problem of pollutant emissions. The course is also part of a series of actions targeted at protecting the environment and public health in the U.S.-Mexico border. The course received a US $32,000 grant from the U.S.-Mexico Border 2020 Environmental Program to promote joint collaboration between Mexico's Secretariat of the Environment and Natural Resources (Semarnat), the Chihuahua State Secretariat of Urban Development and Ecology, the Municipal Directorate of Ecology of Ciudad Juarez, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), and BECC. 

In fulfilling its mandate, BECC works with all environmental organizations along the border, in addition to state and local governments, to create environmental infrastructure, particularly for the sustainable management of pollutant emission control actions, said BECC's Deputy General Manager, Jose Mario Sanchez Soledad. 

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