Alternatives to reduce pollution - No to arbitary NGT ban on NEW diesel vehicles
Petitioning: National Green Tribunal of India, Supreme Court of India
Petitioner: Pratiek Bhadranavar started on May 31, 2016
The National Green Tribunal of India has given a directive that all new diesel vehicles above 2000cc must be banned. This has been upheld by the Hon. Supreme Court as well in the case of New Delhi and NCR region. However there are a few glaring shortcomings in this apparently arbitary and populist measure. While pollution in Indian cities is a major problem, the Hon. Supreme Court and the NGT have based the responsibilty on the wrong class of vehicles.
We have presented our arguments against the ban and positive solutions to reduce pollution.
Our arguments against this ban are as follows-
1. All new passenger vehicles, regardless of fuel type(diesel/petrol) and displacement including those upto the limit of 2000cc and those falling above it are built to BS4(Bharat Stage 4) emission standards. BS4 is very close to Euro 4 standards in terms of pollutant content and limits of harmful exhaust products. Thus these new diesel engines are much cleaner than the earlier, older, polluting engines.
2.The Hon. Supreme Court has considered a 1998 ruling that asserts the extent of excess pollution caused by diesel vehicles over comparable petrol/CNG vehicles. HOWEVER, that was 18 years ago and standards and emission levels have much improved over this period. A new test by CPCB or any other body of the government is required to ascertain current levels of emission difference between petrol and diesel vehicles.
3.In case of certain applications like SUV taxis like Innova, Tata Sumo, etc CNG will degarde the performance drastically and make the vehicle unsuitable for ferrying a large load of passengers over long distances or in hilly regions with steep gradients.
4.While particulate matter(black ash particles) and NOX in diesel engine exhaust is higher than that of petrol/CNG,according to a CSIR-University of Alberta joint study, CNG vehicles emit very fine carbon nano-particles, that are deposited in the lungs and cause cancer, COPD, etc. Thus we will be only jumping from the frying pan into the fire, with a blanket ban on diesel vehicles and wide adoption of CNG. The link to the report is here http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2015-08-08/news/65351077_1_cng-buses-diesel-vehicles-emissions
5.Petrol arguably cleaner is much more inefficient compared to diesel fuel. Therefore although gram-for-gram petrol emits less pollution than diesel, MORE petrol needs to be burned to travel the same distance. Therefore as a whole, the contents of exhaust gases might be different, but the quanta of CO2 and other pollutants is the same or more, and MORE consumtion of fossil fuels is the result.
6.Even considering all other factors into account, the population of such vehicles used as toys of the rich(like Mercedes, Audi, etc) is much lesser compared to the vast number of old, polluting, inefficient vehicles that actually cause the major amount of pollution. Many vehicles like Mahindra Scorpio, Innova, Tata Safari, etc are used by families. The older vehicles are the main cause of pollution. Also, many vehicles are also used as taxis, which are a means of income for the common man, will come under the axe. At least this should concern the NGT, since they and the SC are visibly prejudiced against a certain section of society. What can the common man do?
1.Increase taxes as required on Diesel vehicle above 2000cc, just like sedans over 4m length are taxed in a different bracket. This will reduce the population large capacity vehicles to those who really need them and can justify the extra cost.
2.Implement BS6 standards within a fixed time frame of 1 year. This is very much possible for all automakers and fuel supplying companies.
3.Reduce subsidy on diesel fuel further so that passenger cars running on diesel will find it uneconomical to pay the large extra cost for a diesel vehicle over a comparable petrol vehicle. For large transport vehicles like trucks, tractors, etc, a separate grade of diesel may be introduced at lower price.
4.Ban vehicles more than 10-15 years old from plying on the road. After such a long service life, it is natural thetthe vehicles develop problems and emit more pollution, along with more consumption of fuel and oil. This will help reduce a lot of pollution and also give a major boost to the economy by increasing the sales. On the other hand, the current approach will hurt and damage the biggest industrial sector in India today. To ensure jobs for all, a robust auto sector is a must.
5.Promote the development and use of electric vehicles, with subsidies. Just the opposite of diesel vehicles. In a phased manner, the public will gradually shift to such non-polluting vehicles and the shock to industry will also be mitigated, so that the industry can also adapt to the new requirements of the market.
It appears to us that the NGT has been very hurried in coming to a conclusion and has done so without considering some major technical and economic factors. The motivation behind this ruling appears to be political, in order to bring down the economy rather than a practical approach to reducing pollution. It is very easy to pin the responsibility on rich industrialists and play to the gallery, but it will never result in a proper solution.
However due to our faith in the government and judiciary of India, we beleive that the matter can be resolved in a non-partisan manner. But the voice of the public must reach the corridors of power soon before a final decision is taken.
We request all those who are convinced by this petition to sign, share and promote this to all friends, relatives and acquaintances.
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