A large number of lives are lost each year in India due to the harmful effects of vehicular pollution. “This calls for the immediate need to switch over to cleaner fuels,” said Alan Lloyd, president of the International Council on Clean Transportation (ICCT) at a “Civic Forum on Clean vehicles and fuels” programme here on Monday.
An ICCT study pointed out that 1,54,000 people die every year due to what is known as particulate matter (PM) 2.5 in the air. (PM 2.5 refers to those particles that are less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter and is believed to cause health risks as it can penetrate deep into the lungs.)
In 2011-12, 40 per cent of vehicle sales in India were of diesel cars, said Mr. Lloyd. “Though emission levels have fallen drastically in India, the country has still a lot to do to bring it down to the required levels,” he said.
Mr. Lloyd also said that a shift to electric vehicles is necessary as there will be no tailpipe emissions.
He said that the new auto fuel policy should set stringent long-term standards. He added that if strong technological reforms are introduced, the industry too would respond well. “What is lacking now is for the government to just make a crisp decision and move ahead with the fuel policy,” he said.
A video message from R.K. Pachauri, chief of Inter-Governmental Panel on Climate Change and Director-General of The Energy and Resources Institute, was screened at the function.
Mr. Pachauri said that India is not being vigilant about the auto fuel policy and stressed on the introduction of low sulphur diesel as he believes that the air quality has become unbearable in many cities.
Director of Earth Sciences and Climate Change Division Arabinda Mishra spoke.