Only 17 cities adhere to BS IV norms in India with pollution levels at an all time high: We breathe sulphur
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Only 17 cities adhere to BS IV norms in India with pollution levels at an all time high: We breathe sulphur

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From the original 14 cities that switched to Bharat Stage 4 (BS IV) emission norms earlier, 3 more cities have joined the list from today.  This takes the number to 17 Indian cities committing to cleaner fuel in the county’s quest for better air quality.

Back in 2010, the NCR, Kolkata, Pune, Surat, Lucknow, Mumbai, Chennai, Bangalore, Ahmedabad, Agra, Hyderabad, Kanpur, and Solapur began adhering to BS IV norms that were enforced. For the remainder India, BS III norms were made effective. Ankaleshwar in Gujarat), Hissar in Haryana, and Bharatpur in Rajasthan will now adhere to BS IV emission norms. By 2015, this number will be increased to 50. BS IV petrol and diesel sulphur content is lower. This being a major air pollutant continues to plague cities that still follow BS III norms.

The 17 cities where BS IV emission norms are followed represent 40% of the Indian car market. Selection of cities that need to follow BS IV norms are being decided based on vehicle population, pollution levels. State capitals, and cities with 1 crore+ population are also being looked into. By 2015, India plans to make BS IV emission norms applicable to 50 cities. While there’s no denying that work in this direction is progressive, real advancement points to quicker and stricter implementation.

At present, India ranks the worst amongst 132 countries when it comes to unhealthiest air in the world. The major contributors are vehicular traffic, vehicle exhaust and urbanization.

Emission and fuel economy are affected by factors other than engine technology. This includes much needed phasing out of older vehicles that still ply on Indian roads. Infrastructure development would mean better road systems that get a boost from better quality roads, ring roads, and express highways, and this is necessary. Reducing traffic congestions in cities, and better implementation of traffic signal systems to reduce stoppages is a necessity too. This apart the need for better fuel quality can’t be denied.

What needs to be evaluated constantly is fuel supply and vehicle diesel fuel quality improvement in India. There’s also the need to emphasise on emission control technologies pertaining to high sulphur diesel fuel. Alternative fuels and dual fuel technology potential needs to be investigated, and a boost to hybrid technology would have a favorable result.

On-Board Diagnostics (OBD) is designed to monitor an engine’s major components performance and includes those responsible for controlling emissions. This is by and large missing in light and heavy commercial vehicles in India and OBD enforcement should be a focus for India.