Delhi is continuing to struggle with its Pollution Under Control (PUC) programme which is reportedly not well-equipped to test diesel vehicles for emissions and particulate matter, an Indian Express report said.
This is not the first report to say so. In fact, several reports have shown that diesel vehicles are much more polluting than petrol variants and the national capital is impacted directly because of a number of diesel trucks that pass through the national capital during the night as well as the huge number of cars that are there which run on this fuel. The resultant rise in air pollution is affecting Delhi citizens and their health.
Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority (EPCA) has raised concern saying, “current PUC testing regime for diesel vehicles does not take into account emissions of Sox, Nox and PM” and recommended that the “existing PUC system will need to be overhauled for testing of these pollutants”.
The report further said that among vehicles that turn up for tests, only 1.68 per cent of diesel vehicles fail the smoke density test. “The time it takes to test diesel vehicles is as much as 10-15 minutes compared to petrol vehicles, which takes 2-3 minutes,” an EPCA member was quoted as saying by the paper. He added that there is more chances for cheating by PUC operators when it comes to diesel vehicles.
He also pointed out that the current smoke density test is “ineffectual”. The report, while pointing out on scientific evidence from global experience, also said that the smoke density test is not a good proxy for particulate emissions from diesel vehicles. “Less smoke does not mean less particulate emissions. With engine upgrades, engine smoke disappears and high particulate emissions remain invisible,” the report stated further.
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The authority has also suggested the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways to set up inspection centres in order to check key pollutants. The report also stated that the smoke density test is very lax for the pre-Bharat Stage IV diesel vehicles.