Three-wheelers run on adulterated fuel, which is a major source of pollution

Navigating the endless traffic, swarming through the city roads, is quite a daunting task. But if you are on a two-wheeler and trailing an auto, your problems will be compounded by the thick bluish and black fumes that these vehicles emit.

Petrol price hike

One of the main reasons for these autos emitting the toxic fumes is the fuel adulteration. To cut their costs, some auto drivers are mixing kerosene, a cheaper fuel, with petrol. “Price of petrol is increasing continuously, but our fares are not revised in the same fashion. With prices increasing every day and without extra remuneration we are forced to use kerosene,” an auto driver said.

“I am aware that using kerosene will reduce the life of the engine and emit more smoke but I cannot afford to think of it when my own family depends on my earnings,” he said.

So can traffic police check this menace? Traffic police can only check the ‘pollution under control' certificate, and if an auto driver holds a valid certificate he can go scot free. “Police does not issue a challan based on the actual emission. The only thing that we can do is to charge an auto driver with a challan of Rs. 300 if he fails to produce a certificate,” a police official said.

But if an auto is emitting thick smoke, how can the driver obtain a pollution certificate?

W.G. Prasanna Kumar, a Social Scientist at Pollution Control Board said that there are many variables, like not inserting the probe fully inside the exhaust nozzle and reducing the RPM of the engine during the testing, which can help a driver in obtaining the certificates. “To reduce the pollution and to implement the rules, people affected by them should be involved in the process. Without the cooperation of the drivers, curbing the menace of pollution is impossible,” he said.

Other factors

While fuel adulteration is the major reason for the excess emission, there are other factors involved. “Issues like driving practices employed, load that a vehicle is bearing and the average speed of the traffic also affects the levels of emission,” Mr. Kumar said.

“Auto drivers run their vehicles on maximum capacity and as traffic cannot move at an optimal speed of 40 to 50 km per hour in the city, autos will emit more smoke,” he explained.