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Ban on old diesel vehicles may not be enough to clean up Delhi air

 


Times of India, New Delhi, 14 April, 2015

 

NEW DELHI: Banning old diesel vehicles may not be enough to address severe air pollution in Delhi. Other countries have been imposing higher taxes, excise duties and registration costs to discourage people from buying diesel vehicles. They have also introduced low-sulphur diesel to clean up vehicle emissions.

 

Experts say National Green Tribunal's order will get diesel vehicles that are more than 10 years old off the road but do nothing about new vehicles that flout fitness norms.

 

A recent analysis by Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) shows diesel cars aren't allowed in Beijing. And unlike India, where diesel costs about Rs 10 per litre less than petrol, China doesn't have differential pricing for the two fuels. Sri Lanka deters use of diesel cars with several-fold higher duties on them compared with petrol cars. It also uses taxation to discourage car imports.

 

Don S Jayaweera, chairman of National Transport Commission in Sri Lanka, recently made a presentation in Delhi on how Sri Lanka managed to discourage diesel vehicles. It registered 4,371 hybrid cars to its fleet as against 178 diesel cars and 2,099 petrol cars in 2015. In 2014, it added 23,287 hybrid, 2,846 diesel and 12,226 petrol cars.

 

The French government, which is considering making Paris diesel-free by 2020, doesn't allow diesel cars to run on severe smog days. With its focus on reducing CO2 emissions, European countries promoted diesel cars for many years, but they have had to pay a price in terms of high levels of PM2.5 (fine, respirable particles) and oxides of nitrogen (NOx). Civil society organizations recently took United Kingdom to court for breaching safe standards for nitrogen dioxide (NO2).

 

In India, diesel is not subsidized anymore, yet it remains cheaper than petrol because of lower taxes. This serves as an incentive to buy diesel cars. Between 2001 and 2015, there was a seven-fold increase in diesel vehicles in Delhi. Environment Pollution Control Authority chief Bhure Lal said diesel and petrol should be priced at the same level.

 

Diesel vehicles emit seven times more PM 2.5 and five times more NOx than petrol vehicles. "One BS III diesel vehicle is equivalent to seven petrol vehicles in terms of pollution. I hope NGT's orders will push the government to bridge the price difference (between fuels). The annual tax on private diesel vehicles can be increased to create a clean transport fund used for superior quality fuel or public transport," said Vivek Chattopadhyay of CSE's Clean Air Programme.

 

SP Singh, senior fellow and coordinator of The Indian Foundation for Transport Research and Training (IFTRT), said heavy vehicles entering Delhi are not checked for pollution. A 2012 rule prohibiting goods carriers that do not meet at least Euro IV norms from moving within the NCR was never enforced. "I strongly feel that new diesel vehicles should not be registered in Delhi," said Singh. Chattopadhyay said the government should enforce superior emission norms-BS V and BS VI-to reduce the difference in emissions from diesel and petrol engines.

 

Source: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/home/environment/pollution/Ban-on-old-diesel-vehicles-may-not-be-enough-to-clean-up-Delhi-air/articleshow/46913593.cms