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India's Vehicular Emission Monitoring System Outdated, Incompetent, Says Centre For Science And Environment

'Emission fraud'

03/02/2017 7:44 PM IST | Updated 03/02/2017 7:49 PM IST
Hindustan Times via Getty Images

NEW DELHI -- The PUC (Pollution Under Control) system - the only one to check emissions from on-road vehicles - is extremely weak and incompetent, said the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) on Friday.

Calling for a strong and updated system emission testing system, CSE, a member of the Supreme Court appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA), noted that India can not deal with the "emission fraud" with the present system.

Citing the example of 'Emissiongate' or the 2015 Volkswagen emission scandal, the report said India needs strong compliance regulations to make manufacturers responsible for on-road emissions. The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) in September 2015 found that the German automaker intentionally programmed its diesel engines for controlled nitrogen oxides emissions to pass the laboratory tests.

"India will be in deep trouble if massive motorisation happens without strong compliance with emissions limits. This will enhance the public health risk," said a CSE report.

Pointing out some of the major incompetence of current emission testing, the report said the PUC can't even check the particulate emissions (the particles lesser than 2.5 or 10 mm in air) which cause major pollution problems in cities.

"New data from the Delhi Transport Department shows that failure rate is as dismal as five per cent -- nearly all vehicles pass the test. There is no data, however, on how many vehicles show up for test," said the study.

The Supreme Court has recently given directions to the EPCA to audit all the 614 PUC stations, given the serious concerns about their quality and credibility.

The report added that the PUC norms for on-road vehicles are extremely lax for the older pre-Bharat Stage IV vehicles or older vehicles, often responsible for the maximum emission.

"Without a robust system of emissions monitoring and compliance, the investments in emission control systems in vehicles to meet tighter standards can go waste and negate air pollution control efforts in our cities," the report said.

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