New Delhi: Lauding the Centre’s move to pre-pone the introduction of Euro-VI grade petrol and diesel to April 2018, green bodies today said that given the scale of the air pollution crisis, such a drastic measure was required. The Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said the Bharat Stage-VI (Euro-VI) fuel would bring down sulphur by five times from the current BS-IV levels. Greenpeace India said the move showed the government’s commitment towards cutting down emissions and asserted that it should be expanded to other mega cities as well as across north India.
“This is the kind of proactive and responsive leadership we need to see in our government. This is also the kind of drastic measure which is required, given the scale of the air pollution crisis. We cannot work anymore with small and incremental steps to bring us the kind of air quality benefits that we need,” said Sunita Narain, Director General, CSE.
The government pre-poned the introduction of ultra-clean Euro-VI grade petrol and diesel in the national capital by two years to April 2018, to help fight the air pollution which has reached alarming levels in Delhi-NCR.
India had, in 2015, decided to leapfrog straight to Euro-VI emission norm compliant petrol and diesel from April, 2020 from the current Euro-IV grade.
Even though the full air quality gains will come when the vehicles also move to the BS-VI emission standards, the current move should not be underestimated in a choking city like Delhi. With substantially cleaner fuel emissions, the control system in the on-road fleet will improve and give some emission benefits,” said Anumita Roychowdhury, Executive Director, CSE.
The CSE, however, said this leadership had come from the petroleum ministry and not from the environment ministry, the nodal ministry for environmental regulations. The environment ministry has given repeated affidavits to the Supreme Court, contesting the provision of the Comprehensive Action Plan on clean air, submitted by the Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA), which had asked the industry to manufacture and sell BS-VI vehicles from April 1, 2020.
The CSE said the environment ministry had mentioned in its affidavits that “the technical challenges of leapfrogging directly from BS-IV to BS-VI are far more complex and challenging”.
If the date shifts to become the date of registration, then it would actually reduce the time available to the industry for manufacturing to a mere two years or so, although BS-VI fuel will not be available across the country till April 1, 2020, the CSE said.
Greenpeace India also lauded the move and said the early advancement to Bharat Stage-VI fuel in Delhi showed the government’s commitment towards cutting down emissions to reduce air pollution.
It should be expanded to the other mega cities as well as across entire northern India to see an effective reduction in emissions from the transport sector. Similarly, we also need to focus on controlling the industries’ and thermal power plants’ emissions by implementing the stricter emission standard norms, said Sunil Dahiya, Campaigner, Greenpeace India.
He said leaving away these big polluters out of the list to act against would keep us away from achieving breathable air quality levels across the country. “Air pollution is a regional, national as well as global issue. Taking strong measures across sectors and geographies will lead us to achieve the Clean Air Nation status,” he added.