Dubai/Abu Dhabi/Fujairah: A car more than 20 years old will soon be an unfamiliar sight on the roads, as authorities intend to get them off the streets as of next January 1.

The Ministry of Interior announced that the decision to ban cars more than 20 years old aims to ease traffic congestion and to curb pollution.

The process of phasing out old cars will be completed in stages.

Traffic departments nationwidce will stop registering or renewing licences for vehicles more than 20 years old as of December 1.

City Talk took to the streets and asked residents whether vehicles more than 20 years old should be banned from the roads and whether it will ease traffic congestion and help reduce pollution.

Mohammad Ahmad, a 23-year-old Emirati police officer, said: "This is bad news because there are many people who cannot afford expensive cars, and that is the reason why they chose to buy old cars in the first place."

Prathap Kumar, an accountant from India, 40, said: "I think it will be a good move to decrease pollution and traffic, but basing the issue on just the age of the car is unfair.

"There are many people who take care of their cars and drive safely whereas others with newer models do the opposite."

Zubair Ahmad Khan, transport supervisor, Pakistan, 50, said: "Some people cannot afford to own a car, so they use an old one. If the car is owned by an individual, I am sure the person will take good care of it. If it's owned by a company, there is not one particular person taking care of the car. Also high humidity in the UAE causes a car to rust and this affects the car's suspension.

"Cars whose age exceed 20 years may not be reliable nor safe to drive, so phasing them out may help reduce accidents on roads."

Mohammad Ashraf, e-marketing specialist from India, 25, said: "It is a good idea because it will reduce traffic and it will protect the safety of drivers.

"But I do not think that it will have any impact at all on the environment because there are still a lot of cars on the road, and the industrial factories probably make up the bulk for most of the air pollution."

Elvecia Kapoor, 31, a senior registrar from South Africa, said: "A car more than 20 years old should be banned because it's not road worthy anymore.

"Phasing out old cars will encourage safety but will not ease congestion nor protect the environment because there are other cars out there on the streets. Whether old or new, cars do pollute the streets. I know how to drive but don't own a vehicle nor drive because we have the privilege of public transport in the UAE, which is moderately cheap, reliable and accessible."

Surendran Attassery, a car mechanic from India, 48, said: "If you are taking good care of your car there will not be any congestion at all. Actually old cars are safer than new cars in my opinion, especially on highways, due to their large bodies. Nowadays cars have slim bodies made out of plastic. The design is not as strong as it used to be and the protection is way less, which makes it a harmless environment altogether."

Khalid Salah, an Egyptian sales manager, 40, said: "It is a good idea because old cars are usually less maintained and are a safety hazard to passengers, because if they do not have the budget to buy a new car then they probably do not have the means to maintain it.

"But it will not reduce traffic on the roads because instead of driving their old car they will now be driving a new and cheap car."

Dileep Devan, 33, a sales executive from India, said: "I can see both sides to the argument.

"For example, the benefit to the environment would be good because you will take many cars of the road, but at the same time many lower income people will suffer. The issue of pollution caused by cars is a complicated one because not all older models are in bad condition. The focus should be on the condition of the vehicle and not just its age."

Mohammad Mustafa, a restaurant owner from India, 45, said: "If I have a car in good condition and it does not produce more fumes than other cars, then why should I have to give it up and who is going to compensate me for my loss?

"They should carry out tests on vehicles first to determine whether these should be taken off the road and not just throw a blanket over all cars of a certain age.

"Many people will find it hard to replace the older models because that's all they could afford, so how would they get about? They can't just pay for taxies for every journey."