Says Bharat Stage IV standards, currently in force in a few cities, must be extended nation-wide immediately
New Delhi, November 28, 2015: Centre for Science and Environment (CSE), while welcoming the proactive move of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to bring forward implementation of Euro V and Euro VI emissions standards to 2019 and 2021 respectively, has also warned of the dangers of delaying immediate nation-wide extension of Bharat Stage IV emissions standards currently in force only in a few Indian cities. The much needed strategy to cut highly toxic emissions from diesel commercial fleet significantly and to nearly equalise petrol and diesel emissions by leapfrogging to Euro VI emissions standards by 2021 can be compromised if the current baseline emissions from all vehicles are not pushed up to Bharat Stage IV level nation-wide immediately.
The trucks and other diesel vehicles are still languishing at Bharat stage III emissions standards nation-wide that are 15 years behind Europe and are contributing hugely to local and regional pollution. Delhi is battling this problem by discouraging truck entry with environment tax as these are responsible for 30 per cent of the particulate pollution load from the transport sector in the city. But the full potential of this action can be realized only if overall emissions from trucks and other diesel vehicles are reduced significantly with improved emissions standards nation-wide.
Immediate extension of Bharat Stage IV emissions standards to all vehicles nation-wide can reduce highly toxic and cancer causing diesel particulate emissions by more than 80 per cent and nitrogen oxide by 30 per cent from the new fleet. This can also facilitate quick move towards Euro V and Euro VI within five years when particulate emissions can be brought down further by 66 per cent and nitrogen oxide by yet another 80 per cent. But the official plan to allow Bharat Stage III to languish until so late as 2017 is regressive as the inertia in the system will resist and delay the industry preparedness and block the move to Euro VI by 2021. Diesel industry is already opposing quick move to tighter emissions standards. Said Anumita Roychowdhury, head of CSE’s air pollution team: “It is deplorable that the market for Bharat Stage IV compliant trucks and other highway commercial vehicles has remained a non-starter because of lack of uniform emissions standards in the country. Industry is still selling grossly polluting diesel technology.”
What CSE wants
CSE has asked to immediately stop the current practice of maintaining two levels of emissions standards in the country – giving the benefit of improved emissions standards and better health protection to only a small proportion of urban Indians. This is unacceptable as diesel trucks and other heavy duty vehicles are not graduating to improved emissions standards and are contributing significantly to particulate and NOx levels in cities and spiking lung cancer risk as well. A great part of India already has 50 ppm sulphur fuel and most of India will have it by early 2016. Bharat Stage IV emissions standards for the vehicles should also come into force nationwide by then.
Says Roychowdhury: “Implement Bharat Stage IV emissions standards for all vehicles nation-wide by early 2016 and firm up the roadmap to have Euro V emissions standards in 2019 and Euro VI by 2021: any further delay will not only enhance public health costs but also compromise the roadmap for Euro VI by 2020-21. Only this can help to significantly lower particulate and nitrogen oxide emissions from vehicles and also address cancer risk from diesel emissions. This strategy for clean air must not be allowed to fail.”
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