Fake Catalytic Converters
It all started very innocently. I was going to meet my friend André Bélisle, which happens to be the president of a well respected ecological organisation called AQLPA (Association Québécoise de Lutte contre la Pollution Atmosphérique). We had agreed to meet for lunch that day since he was nearby my house for his Québec wide tour of their vehicles pollution inspection program.
That tour, put together by the AQLPA with the help of the federal government, has been going around the province in an effort to precisely inform volontary drivers of the condition of their vehicles from a pollution point of view.This free service delivered by the AQLPA and the federal government, has been developed with education in mind since most people ignore the effect of their vehicle on the environment. And hardly anybody knows that there are norms in regards to smog and green gas emissions and that every vehicle should comply to them. If you wonder what happens when a volonteer brings a vehicle that fails the test, well... do not worry. Nothing happens; the person will simply be informed of the situation and advised on the different alternatives. It is very important for people to become aware that a vehicle that exceeds the maximum levels of emissions can be hazardous for the health of the people in it as well as the environment. There has been, over the years many deaths caused by those emissions.
When I got to the site of the inspection, I immediately notice that there was something going on that was out of the ordinary.There was electricity in the air. André then explained to me what was happening. A driver had decided to stop and pass the test to see if his car was in good environmental shape. Since he had changed his catalytic converter a few months before, he was expecting his results to be good. To his and our total amazment, the results were catastrophic! While his car should have been relatively non pollutant after having paid over $200 for a new catalytic converter, it was emitting 15 times the maximum accepted level of smog emissions!
The car, a 1992 Nissan Sentra, should have normally produced a maximum of a 120 parts per million(ppm) of hydrocarbons and ,95% of carbon monoxyde. At 750 rpm, it was emitting 180ppm hydrocarbons and 9,435% of carbon monoxyde! This was a genuine polluting machine at a lethal dose.
When André informed the gentleman of the risks that this car reprensented to his family's health, he revealed to us that he had bought and gotten this system installed after having been offered by the mechanic to simply empty his old converter by punching a hole through it to save money.