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Delhi steps towards Bharat stage-6 (BS-VI) fuel

Context

  • The Ministry of Petroleum and Natural Gas announced that BS6 fuel might be available in Delhi from April 1, 2018 in order to try and curb the rampant air pollution crisis

What is the present scenario?

  • Pollution caused by the traffic menace in Delhi is the prime reason contributing to air pollution and smog.

Stubble Burning

  • National capital shares its border with the states of Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. One of the main reasons of increasing air pollution levels in Delhi is crop burning by the farmers in these states. Farmers burn rice stubbles in Punjab, Haryana and Uttar Pradesh. It is estimated that approximately 35 million tonnes of crop are set afire by these states

Traffic menace.

  • The air quality index has reached ‘severe’ levels. Vehicular emission is increasing the hazardous effects of air pollution and smog.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) have declared vehicular emission as a major contributor to Delhi’s increasing air pollution.
  • Petroleum Ministry OMCs have also been asked to examine the possibility of introduction of BS-VI auto fuels in the whole of NCR area from April 1, 2019
  • The BS IV grade fuel was introduced in 2010 and is available in 39 cities, as reported in 2016. The rest of the country has to make do with BS III fuel
  • In 2016, the government had announced the country would skip the BS-V norms altogether and adopt BS-VI norms by 2020. Bharat Stage IV emission norms were enforced in the entire country in April 2017.

What is BS?

  • BS stands for Bharat Stage and are set by the central pollution control board. BS standard is generally applicable to all the vehicles that are running in the country.
  • BS is the emission standards given by Government of India to regulate the air pollutants coming from internal combustion engine.

What is BS-4?

  • BS-4 is regulation for everything that is emitted from vehicle.
  • The regulations not only cover exhaust emission but for evaporation emission, light emission, noise emission, tyre gas emission and perhaps a few more.

What is the significance of BS-4 fuel?

  • BS-IV fuels BS-IV fuels contain far less sulphur than BS-III fuel. Sulphur in fuel makes it dirtier and lowers the efficiency of catalytic converters, which control emissions.
  • The BS-IV compliant vehicles release less pollutants Carbon Mono-oxide (CO), Hydrocarbon (HC), Oxides of Nitrogen (NO), Sulphur (SO) and particulate matter (PM) compared to BS III complaint vehicles.
  • Bs4 demands for lower limits of air pollutants like oxides of nitrogen, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and particulate matter, lower decibel of idle and pass, lower release of fuel vapour in atmosphere.

What is the significance of BS-6 fuel?

  • The proposed BS-VI fuel limits the amount of sulphur to 10ppm from 50ppm in BS-IV.
  • The fuel specifications of petrol and diesel have been aligned with the Corresponding European Fuel Specifications for meeting the Euro II, Euro III and Euro IV emission norms.
  • The introduction of BS-VI fuels in NCT by April 2018 will also give auto firms opportunities to market-test their models before the pan-India rollout happens in April 2020.

How can this policy help?

  • According to the Centre for Science and Environment, the move to Bharat Stage-VI will bring down Nitrogen Oxide emissions from diesel cars by 68 per cent and 25 per cent from petrol engine cars.
  • The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) and the National Environmental Engineering Research Institute (NEERI) have declared vehicular emission as a major contributor to Delhi’s increasing air pollution.
  • Cancer causing particulate matter emissions from diesel engine cars will also come down by a phenomenal 80 per cent.

What is the courts stand? (In Bajaj Auto’s context)

  • Pune-based Bajaj Auto had approached the Supreme Court alleging that the rivals have been dragging the implementation of BS-IV
  • The apex court, accepting Bajaj Auto’s position ordered the strict implementation of April 1 leaving thousands of units of inventory in uncertainty and causing losses over Rs 12,000 crore to the industry collectively.
  • The manufacturers had no option but to upgrade the vehicle to BS-IV

What are challenges in complying with BS-6 fuel usage?

  • The decision would pose a major challenge for auto companies and parts makers to be ready in time.
  • The companies would need to upgrade their engine technology, which would require huge investments.
  • A potential problem with the launching of BS-VI vehicles only for Delhi would be the feasibility of fuel outside the Capital

What is the way ahead?

Promising start

  • While the complete gains of the BS-VI norms would only be seen when vehicles also moved from BS-IV to the new norms, the decision to advance the cleaner fuel standards should not be underestimated

Quality of fuel

  • Fuel quality plays a very important role in meeting the stringent emission regulation.
  • India had pledged to cut the intensity of its carbon emissions by 33-35 per cent and boost the renewable energy capacity to 40 per cent by 2030 in the target submitted to the United Nations Framework Convention (UNFCCC) on Climate Change for a global climate pact.

Transition to BS-6 fuel

  • The proposed BS-VI fuel limits the amount of sulphur to 10ppm from 50ppm in BS-IV.
  • Availability of BS-VI fuel ahead of BS-VI emission norms implementation will be a strong enabler for the auto industry’s ongoing development and testing activities

Expansion outside DelhiNCR

  • The government needs to expand the plan to other mega cities and across Northern India so there can be a more effective reduction of emissions
  • The Government further needs to enforce the order to remove old BS II and earlier vintage vehicles from plying in the National Capital
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