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Truth Behind the Headlines: Millions of polluting cars exported to Global South countries

Air Quality News reported that millions of polluting cars are being exported to developing countriesA new report published by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), revealed that in 2015, 14 million used light-duty vehicles were exported worldwide and some 80% of these went to low- and middle-income countries. The report highlights how global north countries are dumping their old, polluting and unsafe vehicles in global south countries. This is possible as two-thirds of countries have weak policies to regulate the imports of used vehicles. 

Using our recommended five tips, Global Action Plan reviewed the study:


Questions to ask to get to the truth Our response
1. Does the article refer to a report to back up its claims?

The article refers to Used Vehicles And The Environment. A Global Overview of Used Light Duty Vehicles: Flow, Scale and Regulation. A report by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) published in 2020.  

2. Who is behind the study it refers to?

UNEP is the leading global environmental authoritythat sets the global environmental agenda, promotes the coherent implementation of the environmental dimension of sustainable development within the United Nations system, and serves as an authoritative advocate for the global environment. 

3. How fantastical and radical is the claim that is being made?

Data on light-duty vehicle exportation was collected from the largest exporters of used vehicles. The European Union accounts for 54%, Japan 27% and the United States of America 18% of woldwide exports The report also analysed the policies surrounding importation in the 146 countries to understand the influence this had over importation of vehicles 


4. What geographical region does the claim refer to?

The study is global, looking at 146 different countries.  

5. What is the sample size of the study?

The report looks at imports and exports of light-duty vehicles in 146 countries 


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