- In a step to curb vehicular pollution in Delhi, the International Centre for Automotive Technology will implement remote sensing technology for screening of pollution from on-road vehicles.
- The Supreme Court-appointed Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority has been suggesting steps to tackle air pollution in general under the framework of graded response action plan in Delhi-NCR region.
- The landmark Vardhaman Kaushik v/s Union of India case led to the formulation of GRAP (Graded Response Action Plan for Delhi & NCR) by CPCB.
- While GRAP is post-mortem in approach, EPCA felt the need for a “preventive plan” to tackle the problem of air pollution in Delhi-NCR in the long run.
Need for Remote-sensing Technology as Compliance strategy for Vehicular Pollution
- Thus, the apex court had directed the appointment Environment Pollution (Prevention and Control) Authority to make recommendations to tackle air pollution in Delhi-NCR in the long run.
- Accordingly, the EPCA has directed the International Centre for Automotive Technology to deploy remote sensing technology to measure the amount of pollution each vehicle causes as it enters Delhi.
- In the initial stages of the study, ICAT has tested around 70,000 vehicles with more number of vehicles set to be monitored.
- Current system not really working:
- The current vehicle inspection system involves Pollution Under Control Certificate (PUC) which was originally designed for older technologies.
- Further, according to data only 23% of the vehicles in Delhi undergo PUC tests and thus lack compliance.
- However, the on-road fleet in Delhi has moved towards BS-IV compliance.
- Further, with BS-VI technology for new vehicles, Smart monitoring of on-road emissions has become inevitable.
- Thus remote sensing-based monitoring of vehicular pollution of on-road fleet is the need of the day.
About Remote Sensing-based Monitoring
- Under remote sensing technology, a light source and a detector is placed on the side of the road or at a height to transmit a laser beam.
- The laser beam thus transmitted can measure the exhaust emissions remotely via spectroscopy as vehicles pass by and cross the light path.
- The technology detects the exhaust plume of the vehicles and measure opacity, nitric oxide, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and carbon monoxide in 0.5 seconds.
- It can record emission rates from thousands of individual vehicles along with speed and acceleration across all driving conditions.
- Further, a camera captures the image of the vehicle’s number plate to identify the make, model, certified emission standard, fuel type, rated power and other details.
- Remote sensing helps to detect individual high-emitting vehicles.
- It can help improve compliance in cases of tampering of emission control systems by the vehicle owner.
- As a result, there is no scope of fraud like in the PUC system.
Comprehensive Action Plan and Vehicular pollution
- In its Comprehensive Action Plan, EPCA has identified 5 key sources of air pollution in Delhi
- Combustion in power plants and industries using dirty fuels, like pet coke, coal and biomass
- Garbage burning, both in landfills and other places
- Dust management on roads, construction sites etc
- Crop residue burning
- Primarily the Comprehensive Action Plan provides for a compliance strategy for Delhi and NCR to meet clean air standards.
Actions to reduce vehicular emissions
- For New Vehicles
- Implementation of BS VI fuel and emission standards.
- Expand CNG programme across NCR including introduction of H-CNG.
- Introduce battery operated vehicles in targeted segments of two-wheelers, three-wheelers and buses.
- Install vapour recovery systems to reduce benzene emissions in NCR.
- For Vehicles on-road
- Tighten PUC norms for post-2000 vehicles
- Link PUC certificates with annual vehicle insurance to ensure 100 per cent compliance
- Divert truck traffic
- Strategies to reduce vehicle numbers on roads
- Improve Public transport.
- Augment the service of Metro for carrying more passengers
- BRTS to be implemented in targeted high frequency routes.
- Fare integration and common ticketing by introducing common mobility cards.
- Prepare and implement zonal plans for developing a Non-motorized transport network.
- Parking policy to reduce congestion and pollution.
- Traffic management: Introduce early alarm system during traffic congestion.