Time to take action on diesel emissions in cities: Sunita Narain

The bad news is that diesel usage in vehicles will continue to grow across the world — including India. The good news is that the technology to leapfrog to better fuels is available, and governments and refineries are keen to act on the same. However, only the automobile industry seems to be stalling, and needs to be brought on board.

This emerged from the half-day deliberations on “clean diesel”, held on the second day of the Centre for Science and Environment’s Anil Agarwal Dialogue 2015 here on Thursday.

Speaking on the occasion, CSE executive director-research Anumita Roychowdhury said: “Even the limited evidence in India point towards high contribution of diesel fuel combustion in cities to the formation of tiny killer particles — PM2.5. Some of the deadliest air toxics, some of which according to the World Health Organization can lead to cancers, are related to diesel emissions. These have been blamed for killing unborn foetuses as well. Urgent action is therefore needed to deal with this menace.”

Diesel produces a higher proportion of ‘black’ carbon, which absorbs light and forces heating — as opposed to biomass burning in cook stoves which produce more organic carbons that scatters sunlight. Of the total black carbon emissions across the world, 20 per cent is expected to be generated by diesel.

“Diesel emerges as the main killjoy,” noted CSE director-general Sunita Narain, adding that as many as 6,27,000 estimated deaths were due to particulates in 2010, which makes it imperative that the time to take action on diesel in urban areas has come.

Speaking at the dialogue on Wednesday, Li Kunsheng, the director of Vehicle Emission Management at the Beijing Municipal Environment Protection Bureau, said China had implemented China-5 emission standards in 2013, while the Euro-5 fuel standard had been introduced way back in 2008.

India implemented its Auto Fuel Policy in 2010, which introduced the Bharat Stage-3 emission norms all over the country and Bharat Stage-4 in 13 cities. The CSE has been demanding that the country leapfrog and the norms be enforced earlier — Euro-5 by 2017 and Euro-6 by 2020.

Ms. Roychowdhury stressed on this further by adding that “India has the capability to meet the target for Euro-6 with a fiscal support strategy, and we must not let the sluggish response of automobile manufacturers slow us down. The U.S. and Europe already implemented Euro-5 in 2009 and Euro 6 in 2014.”

As many as 6,27,000 estimated deaths were due to particulates in 2010, says the CSE chief

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Printable version | Apr 17, 2021 6:08:58 AM |

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