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Posted at: Nov 11, 2017, 2:15 AM; last updated: Nov 11, 2017, 2:15 AM (IST)GOOD MOTORING

More pollution, no solution

We need to take concrete steps to tackle the problem now, not for us, but for our children
More pollution, no solution
Tribune photo: Manas Ranjan Bhui

H. Kishie Singh

As long as there are cars, there will be pollution. The Internal Combustion Engine has to pollute. As long as we keep using fossil fuel, the engine has to pour out carbon monoxide and nitrous oxide. Both are capable of killing you and they are doing just that. Not in one quick stoke, but slowly and gently, seducing you in the luxury of your vehicle as you breathe in poisonous fumes.

The judiciary has taken cognisance of this problem. A few months ago, the Supreme Court directed the Centre to refuse insurance coverage without a valid Pollution under Control (PUC) certificate. Did they really think it could be a practical solution?

The Punjab Pollution Control Board has admitted that out of the 225 authorised pollution checking centres, 100 were violating norms. It’s easy to buy a ‘doctored’ PUC Certificate. Just to save a few rupees and get a proper tune up on the car and then a valid PUC Certificate, a car owner drives around polluting atmosphere and everyone around him, starting with his own children. Not only that a car that pollutes is not fuel efficient, it also burns a bigger hole in the pocket because of fuel bills.

The SC should have taken a lesson from its 1998 Order. All public transport buses, it ordered, must run on Compressed Natural Gas. It worked a miracle. In 1995, the count for Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM) in Delhi was 409, a horrifyingly high and dangerous count. By 2000, RSPM was down to 191 and a count of 171 by 2007. One very positive outcome of that order was that Delhi could build the largest fleet of CNG buses, a role model for others, in the world.

However, our mad rush to be an auto manufacturing hub for the world proved disastrous. From 1970-71 to 2000-2001, contribution by vehicular pollution in Delhi had trebled from 23 per cent to 72 per cent! In January 2016, pollution levels had breached all safety norms and forced the government to set out on the odd-even numbers adventure. It halved the number of cars on Delhi roads. In 2016, 9 lakh vehicles were added to Delhi roads! So much for halving the cars on the road.

It’s not only cars that pollute. Trucks are equally responsible. When the Kundli- Palwal-Manesar highway was not functional, one lakh trucks passed through Delhi every night. A sensible solution would have been to allow registration of only CNG-LPG driven cars in the NCR. This would not have been the complete solution, but would have made a dent in the pollution chart.

The only people who would have protested are the people who would benefit the most. The dilliwallas! It would be a small sacrifice for their children and the elders. The elders have all had a good innings in life, the future of the children is ahead of them and yet to begin. As mentioned in this column previously, a large number of children in Delhi are suffering from irreversible lung damage. Keep them in mind.

Happy Motoring!


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