The Indian government watchdog, National Green Tribunal, has turned down the centre’s plea to lift the ban diesel vehicles which are more than 10-years-old in Delhi-National Capital Region (NCR). According to data provided by the NGT, one diesel vehicle from a decade ago creates pollution that equals 24 petrol vehicles and 40 vehicles, although they have not said over what period this applies or on what basis this study was conducted. Earlier this year, the NGT had reserved its judgement on the government’s submission that the Ban should be lifted in the Delhi-NCR. According to governing bodies, they had requested for a lift on the ban saying that they were not major contributors to air pollution. The government further questioned the NGTs data saying that there was no definitive way for the NGT to reaffirm it’s data that says 10-year-old or more diesel vehicles are solely responsible for the pollution when compared to other fuels. What we know is that the Litmus test for Delhi’s pollution has always been the winters, and in truth, if the NGT’s data is reliable almost a year into the ban we might see some signs of air quality improvement.
The centre also advised the panel that diesel’s are no longer what they used to be, adding a reference to a previous hearing wherein General (ASG) Pinky Anand, appearing for the Ministry of Road Transport and Highways, told the green panel that according to an IIT Kanpur study, vehicular emissions contribute only 20 per cent to the air pollution and out of this contribution of diesel vehicles is 0.22 per cent. Saying that while petrol causes carbon dioxide pollutants, CNG adds nitrate pollution to the atmosphere, all of which can have an adverse effect on the environs.
There is a further nuance to the subject, with owners of 10-year old diesel at a loss for what to do with the vehicles they have. Moreover, because the government has no scrappage policy in place. Keep in mind, any vehicle that was made before 2006 will come under the bans purview. Meaning that these vehicles, which no longer have any road value, will find a place on the side of various roads around the NCR.
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