Not off the hook: India's Supreme Court has refused to quash complaints on Skoda Volkswagen's use of emission cheat devices in its vehicles | Photo:

Emission cheat devices: SC refuses to quash FIR against Skoda Volkswagen

The Supreme Court of India has refused to quash an FIR against carmaker Skoda Volkswagen over emission cheat devices installed in the company’s cars. The top court, while dismissing Skoda’s appeal, said quashing of a complaint should be an exception and a rarity rather than an ordinary rule. 

Earlier, the Allahabad high court in October dismissed Volkswagen India’s plea for quashing of an FIR dated July 10 registered against it in Noida for installing “cheat devices” in its vehicles. However, it had stopped the arrest of company officials till the submission of a police report.

Ghaziabad tops list of India’s most polluted city 7 times in 2 weeks 

Over the past fortnight, Ghaziabad has been ranked seven times as the most polluted city in the country among over 100 cities in India, according to the Central Pollution Control Board’s (CPCB) Air Quality Index (AQI) bulletin. Ghaziabad recorded the maximum instances (7) of “severe” AQI recordings in the past 14 days — between November 22 and December 5. 

Experts said the city’s current pollution scenario can be attributed more to local pollutants emitted by major construction and infrastructure projects as well as industrial units and vehicles and not so much to stubble burning fumes from neighbouring states.

CPCB makes clean fuel mandatory for new units operating in NCR

New industrial units in the National Capital Region (NCR) will have to use clean fuel only after the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) made it mandatory to use PNG, CNG or non-polluting fuel in operations. The directive is restricted to new units as the old ones are slower or reluctant to make the switch to non-polluting fuel. 

Industry players called CPCB directions a knee-jerk reaction to the annual pollution in Delhi. With 75% of the industry of the NCR in non-conforming areas and with no access to PNG, how is the CPCB direction of any relevance, they asked.

Air pollution can alter local weather as well: IIT-B study

According to a recent IIT-Bombay study, the fall in pollution during the lockdown early this year did not just result in clearer skies in the city, it also led to changes in local weather conditions such as the wind.

The study said pollution may influence local meteorology more strongly than some natural seasonal changes. Understanding these dynamics can help improve local-level forecasting, scientists said. While several studies have looked at air quality during India’s Covid-19 lockdown, this is the first report that looks at the effects on weather systems, reported TOI.

Power minister launches hackathon to turn agricultural waste into green charcoal 

As stubble burning remains one of the major causes for spikes in winter pollution in north India, the central government launched a Green Charcoal Hackathon, which focuses on technology to convert farm residue into green charcoal. 

The hackathon has been organised by state-owned Energy Efficiency Services Ltd and NVVN (NTPC Vidyut Vyapari Nigam), a subsidiary of state-owned power giant NTPC Ltd.

The power and New and Renewable Energy Minister  R.K Singh pointed out that India’s total coal-based power generation capacity can consume about 1,000 million tonnes of coal annually. Replacing even if 10% of that with green charcoal will require about 160 million tonnes of agro residue and municipal waste. This would be sufficient to wipe out the entire unused agro residue in the country, thus eliminating farm fires.

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