From April 1, vehicles will need to have an on-board self-diagnostic device to monitor the real-time driving emission levels. Photo:mukund76-Flickr

Prices of passenger, commercial vehicles to rise before April 1 emission norms deadline

The prices of passenger and commercial vehicles are expected to further increase as stricter second phase of BS-VI emission norms are set to kick in from April 1. The industry is making their four-wheelers meet the Bharat Stage VI Phase 2 targets (equivalent to Euro-VI emission norms). Costs will be passed on to consumers. From April 1, vehicles will need to have an on-board self-diagnostic device to monitor the real-time driving emission levels. The device will monitor the catalytic converter and oxygen sensors to check on emissions. Warning lights will indicate emission limits and time for a service. To limit the fuel burnt, vehicles will have programmed fuel injectors to control the timing and amount of fuel injected into the petrol engine. Semiconductors will have to be upgraded to monitor throttle, crankshaft positions, air intake pressure, temperature of the engine and the contents of the emissions from the exhaust (particulate matter, nitrogen oxide, CO2, sulphur), etc. Sulphur content is the major difference between BS-IV and BS-VI norms.

39 of the 50 most polluted cities in the world are in India: Report

India ranked the world’s eighth most-polluted country in 2022, dropping from fifth place the previous year, according to the Swiss firm IQAir in its ‘World Air Quality Report’. Of the 50 most polluted cities in the world, 39 are in India.

Chad, Iraq, Pakistan, Bahrain, Bangladesh, Burkina Faso, Kuwait, India, Egypt and Tajikistan were the top 10 most polluted countries while Australia, Estonia, Finland, Grenada, Iceland, and New Zealand met the WHO PM2.5 guideline (annual average of 5 Aug/m3 or less). The data from 131 countries was taken from over 30,000 ground-based monitors (state and private).

The report stated that in India, the transportation sector causes 20-35% of the PM2.5 pollution, while other sources of pollution are industrial units, coal-fired power plants and biomass burning.

After the two top most-polluted cities, Lahore in Pakistan and Hotan in China, Rajasthan’s Bhiwadi is in third place and Delhi ranked fourth. According to the report, 31 cities, including 10 cities in Uttar Pradesh and seven in Haryana, have seen a steep percentage decline in pollution levels.  

Aaditya Thackeray writes to Centre over rising air pollution in Mumbai And Maharashtra 

‘Poor’ to ‘very poor’ ratings of air quality in Mumbai over the past six months prompted former environment minister and Shiv Sena (UBT) leader Aaditya Thackeray to write a letter to Union environment minister Bhupender Yadav expressing his concerns over construction activities in Mumbai happening without supervision. Aaditya demanded the relocation of refineries and fertiliser factories from the city to save the residents of Mahul and Wadala from pollution and the implementation of provisions under the climate action plan for the city.

Thackeray also posted his letter on Twitter. He said the BMC’s plans for a study committee and smog towers are only delaying tactics to benefit contractors. He requested the Union minister to direct the state government to set up a climate cell as suggested by the Climate Action Plan 2022.

Captive power plants in NCR get coal phase-down timelines

Early this week, the Commission for Air Quality Management (CAQM) in the National Capital Region issued guidelines for captive power plants operating in the region to shift away from coal. Captive thermal power plants will have to ensure co-firing of biomass-based pellets of at least 5% by September 30 and at least 10% by December 31, 2023. A similar guideline was issued to thermal power plants operating in the region last year, with the deadline for 10% co-firing set to run out at the end of the month.

Green court sets up panel to study air pollutions around AIIMS in Delhi

India’s green court, the National Green Tribunal (NGT) constituted a seven-member joint committee to investigate and control air pollution around the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) in Delhi. The court passed the order on an application against the failure of statutory and administrative authorities to control air pollution, causing harm to the health of indoor and outdoor patients, doctors, and staff of AIIMS. The court was informed that the pollution around AIIMS Delhi is being caused by a significant number of hawkers and vehicles and the absence of an adequate green belt in the area is preventing the absorption of dust and carbon dioxide emissions, which is crucial to maintaining air quality within prescribed limits. The green court was also informed that the lack of proper measures to handle garbage and bio-medical waste scientifically was adding to the pollution. 

Air pollution ‘speeds up osteoporosis’ in women 

Air pollution is accelerating osteoporosis in postmenopausal women, found a new study conducted in the US. Researchers scanned the bones of more than 9,000 women living in four different parts of the US. Each had a bone scan three times over a six-year period that was compared with the air they breathed. On average, air pollution accounted for a doubling of the speed of bone loss.

Osteoporosis weakens bones and is linked to more than 2 million fractures a year in the US, with a cost of more than $20 billion (£16.9 billion) annually. The study showed effects at air pollution concentrations that are well below the current limits in the US and Europe, and well below the UK government’s proposed limits for 2040.

The US researchers found the lumbar spine was most susceptible to air pollution-induced bone loss and especially from nitrogen oxides. These are a group of pollutants, including nitrogen dioxide, that breach legal limits along many main roads in the UK and across Europe. These breaches have persisted since the start of the century, exposing many people to high concentrations of nitrogen dioxide. This comes mainly from traffic, especially the large numbers of diesel vehicles that were manufactured to pass exhaust tests, but produced much more pollution when used on our roads. 

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