Approaching winter renews concerns of smog: Underscores need for Cleaner Fuels
New Delhi, October 24th, 2017: With winters on the anvil, the capital is once again staring at the dreadful prospect of smog and unbreathable air. This puts the focus back on vehicular pollution, and the imminent need to shift vehicles to cleaner alternative fuels. The government and public at large must look at cleaner fuel options such as auto LPG and minimize the use of Petrol and diesel. The need of the hour is to make informed fuel choices for our vehicles so that we don’t not choke our cities and imperil the health of the younger generation. The number of premature deaths in India stood at 11 lakh in 2015 because of air pollution, a recent study by an American Institute found.
There was about 50percent increase in premature deaths in India between 1990 and 2015 because oftoxic air quality. Another recent report by Greenpeace, which assessed thestate of air quality in 168 cities India, found that none of the cities complywith air quality standards prescribed by World Health Organisation (WHO). Italso says fossil fuels, particularly petrol and diesel, are the main reason forthe deteriorating air quality across the country.
“The capital wascovered with a thick blanket of smog last Diwali, with young children being themost badly affected. As winter approaches again, we realize we have not doneanything to alleviate the situation. We need to find a solution for thedeteriorating air pollution situation in the country and we need to do itquickly. Many countries have switched to gaseous fuels CNG and LPG, includingsome in Asia, with very satisfactory results. In Turkey, 40 % of all privatecars run on Auto LPG. There is no reason why we should delay adoption of thesecleaner gaseous fuels,” says MrSuyash Gupta, Director General, Indian Auto LPG Coalition (IAC).
A study conducted inthe national capital by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) andKolkata-based Chittaranjan National Cancer Research Centre revealed that oneout of every three children in Delhi had reduced lung function due to bad airquality. Asthma is on the rise because of the growing air pollution and peoplewho are more exposed to vehicular pollution are at greater risk. Given thescenario, the health of the people of the country is being increasinglycompromised and the healthcare costs are going up.
Some changes arebeing brought in by the government to improve the air quality. The governmenthas made it mandatory for all vehicles in the country to comply with BS-VIstandards by 2020 in the country. It is also pushing electric vehicles as ameans to fight vehicular pollution. But the infrastructure for the electricvehicles will take some time to be developed. Auto LPG can be looked at whichcan bring about the desired reduction in vehicular pollution almost immediatelysince there are 500 cities already having auto LPG filling station and othercities can be brought under the ambit instantaneously as Auto LPG can betransported very easily and does not require pipelines and other infrastructureto be established.
Auto LPG emits up to120 times lesser particulate emissions than diesel vehicles, 96% lessernitrogen dioxides (NOx) than diesel and 68% lesser NOx than petrol. CNG alsohas lower emissions than petrol and diesel. Given these facts, the governmentsmust make exemptions for Auto LPG vehicles also while implementing roadrationing scheme like the odd-even scheme. Exemptions to owners of alternativevehicles from parking and road use charges will go a long way in making thesefuels popular. Additionally, the government can look at GST benefits andsubsidies to OEMs/dealers and retrofitters of CNG/LPG kit in order to encourageadoption to cleaner fuels.