It is working on production of bio-fuels and reduction of air polluting components in conventional fuels
Oil extracted from jatropha will be blended in petrol and diesel`CNG will come to Chennai only in the next Five Year Plan period'
Chennai: The Chennai Petroleum Corporation Limited is working on production of bio-fuels and the reduction of air polluting components in conventional fuels, the company's Managing Director K.K. Acharya said on Wednesday.
The CPCL would start production of ethanol-blended petrol in Tamil Nadu in compliance with the Petroleum Ministry's decision to introduce it in all states. Industries were also aiming to bring down sulphur content in petrol and diesel to 50 parts per million by 2010 from the present 350 ppm, and benzene levels from five per cent to one per cent, Mr. Acharya said.
He was speaking at the awareness programme organised by Asthma Foundation of India, on the occasion of World Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Day.
Oil extracted from jatropha would be blended in petrol and diesel to make bio-fuels, Mr. Acharya said. The CPCL refinery in Nagapattinam has started jatropha cultivation but there were problems of low yield (only eight metric tonnes per acre per year). Even so, jatropha cultivation in drylands must be encouraged as it gives us energy security to an extent, he stressed.
K.M. Mathew, Chairman of Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board, also underscored the need for industries to come up with eco-friendly alternatives to reduce pollution. Compressed Natural Gas (CNG), which had helped Delhi cut air pollution levels, would come to Chennai only in the next Five Year Plan period, when funds could be allocated, he said.
Prasanna Kumar Thomas, a consultant pulmonologist at Apollo Clinic, said that indoor and outdoor air pollution could cause respiratory diseases such as COPD.
It was a misconception that only smoking could cause COPD, he said. Symptoms for this chronic lung infection disease include daily cough for three consecutive months in two consecutive years. "Once you develop COPD, it is never fully reversible. Air flow is progressively limited," Dr. Thomas said.
In order to reduce pollution, there must be synergy between the health and environment sector, stressed Kalpana Balakrishnan, head of the Environmental Health Engineering Department in Sri Ramachandra Medical College. "Treatment for COPD is enormously expensive.
Low income countries need effective public health programmes for prevention," she said.
Raj B. Singh, Asthma Foundation India's Managing Trustee, said the prevalence of COPD was increasing but the disease remained largely unrecognised.