New smoke emission standards requiring diesel vehicles to adhere to lower pollution levels went into effect Monday, the Environment Ministry announced. The changes will require diesel vehicles produced after 2001 to maintain significantly lower emissions levels than the regulations until now. Diesel automobiles with engines of 200 or greater horsepower are now required to lower their emissions from 50 to 30 Hartridge, a unit measuring the amount of dark smoke discharged. Monday's change also mandates vehicles with an engine of less than 200 horsepower to decrease their maximum emissions from 60 Hartridge to 40, a 33% reduction. Implementation of the new law will take place in two stages. Any car produced from today onward will be obligated to comply with the stricter standards. By August 26, vehicles made after 2001 will also be required to act in accordance with the new regulations. In addition, the Transportation Ministry has told the Environment Ministry that certain cars will definitely not pass the tighter regulations. Therefore, by August 26, the Transportation Ministry needs to submit ways to improve vehicle emission standards. The law will be enforced during the yearly registration/safety checks. If a person's vehicle fails the emission check, his registration will be revoked until the necessary changes are made. According to the Environment Ministry, the smoke emitted from diesel vehicles is extremely dangerous and can lead to difficulties in breathing and even heart disease. The ministry hopes that by implementing this law, Israelis will avoid serious medical problems and enjoy a healthier daily commute on the roads to and from work.