Advancement of Fuel Quality and Vehicle Emissions Norms to Improve Urban Air Quality in India
The health impacts of the deteriorating ambient air quality in urban cities worldwide are of serious concern. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), one of the top ten causes of death is attributed to air pollution (WHO, 2010); diesel engine exhaust, for instance has been linked with increased lung cancer risk (WHO, 2012). Motor vehicles are one of the major sources contributing to air pollution at local, regional and global scale. India, which has the largest number of megacities in the world, is facing serious air quality problems in its urban areas. India's transport sector is the fastest growing consumer of energy. Recognising these adverse environmental effects, the Government of India has taken several policy measures to bring down the pollution levels due to vehicular sources. Improvement in vehicular technology and the quality of fuel aimed at reducing tail-pipe emissions from vehicular sector are significant interventions amongst several others. While the developed world has moved to the stricter Euro-V/VI emission norms, the developing countries like China and India have only reached the level of Euro-III equivalent norms across the country. It may be noted that in India there is only one set of ambient air quality standards applicable for the whole country, however, two different vehicle emission/fuel quality standards exists for different regions. Better fuel quality and improved vehicular emission standards (BS-IV) have been implemented in only few of the cities in the country. Moreover, there is no road map for further advancement of vehicular emissions and fuel quality norms in the country after the year 2010. Auto Fuel Vision and Policy Committee was setup in 2013 to recommend the future roadmap on advancement of fuel quality and vehicular emission standards upto 2025. The committee has recommended the introduction of BS-IV and BS-V norms across the country by 2017 and 2020, respectively. BS-VI emission norms are recommended to be introduced by 2024.