With a population of 1.3 billion and the absence of laws addressing major issues, it is a daunting task for the government to make its citizens aware of those issues. Across the globe, India is known to rule the service industry, with thousands of youth employed to outsource tech-related work for their foreign employers. Even with the advancement in technology, India falls far behind many countries like Norway, Denmark, Sweden, etc. in terms of maintaining a healthy environment for its people. Due to a lack of proper codification of laws addressing one of the major issues of climate change, the Indian government has been working on effective implementation of better rules to address the challenges of ‘climate change’. The real question is, how ‘effective and efficient’ are these measures for Indian society? Let’s reflect upon it.
What are the Euro emission norms?
The first Euro Emission norms for passenger vehicles was introduced in 1970. The introduction of first Euro emission rules required the car industry to switch the unleaded petrol with the universal fitting of catalytic converters for the petrol vehicles in order to limit the emission of carbon monoxide, in both petrol& diesel vehicles, up to 2.72g/kg.
Euro 1 Emission limits: CO – 2.72 g/km (petrol and diesel); HC+ NOx – 0.97 g/km (petrol and diesel); PM – 0.14 g/km (diesel only).
The Euro 2 standards of 1996 established different limitations for petrol and diesel vehicles; it focussed on reducing not only the carbon monoxide level but also the emission of hydrocarbons as well as oxides of nitrogen.
Euro 2 Emission limits: (petrol)-CO – 2.2 g/km, HC+ NOx – 0.5 g/km, PM – no limit;
Euro 2 emission limits (diesel)-CO – 1.0 g/km, HC+ NOx – 0.7 g/km, PM – 0.08 g/km.
In the Euro 3 Emission rules of 2000, it modified the test procedure required for engine warm up, and it provided separate limits for hydro carbons and nitrogen oxide emissions, along with further reduction in the carbon monoxide emission limits.
Euro 3 Emission limits: (petrol)-CO – 2.3 g/km, HC – 0.20 g/km, NOx – 0.15, PM – no limit;
Euro 3 emission limits: (diesel) – CO – 0.64 g/km, HC+ NOx – 0.56 g/km, NOx – 0.50 g/km, PM – 0.05 g/km.
The Euro 4 Emission limits of 2005 focussed more on limiting the emission of particulate matter and oxides of nitrogen.
Euro 4 emission limits: (petrol) – CO – 1.0 g/km, HC – 0.10 g/km, NOx – 0.08, PM – no limit;
Euro 4 emission limits (diesel) – CO – 0.50 g/km, HC+ NOx – 0.30 g/km, NOx – 0.25 g/km, PM – 0.025 g/km.
The Euro 5 emission limits tightened the rules for particulate emission from diesel vehicles, and for the first time laid down the limit for particulate emission from petrol vehicles –applicable to direct engine injection only.
Euro 5 emission limits: (petrol) – CO – 1.0 g/km, HC – 0.10 g/km, NOx – 0.06 g/km, PM – 0.005 g/km (direct injection only);
Euro 5 emission limits: (diesel) – CO – 0.50 g/km, HC+ NOx – 0.23 g/km, NOx – 0.18 g/km, PM – 0.005 g/km, PM – 6.0×10 ^11/km.
The most recent. Euro 6 Emission limits of 2014 focussed more on limited the release of nitrogen oxides along with the following other requirements:
A NOx adsorber (Lean NOx Trap) which stores NOx and reduces it to Nitrogen over a catalyst;
Selective Catalytic Reduction (SCR) which uses an additive (Diesel Exhaust Fluid (DEF) or AdBlue) containing urea injected into the exhaust to convert NOx into Nitrogen and water;
The use of Cerium, a fluid injected into the fuel tank each time the vehicle is refueled which assists the DPF regeneration by lowering the temperature needed for regeneration.
The objective behind introducing these norms was to address the concerns of climate change, resulting from the emission of harmful substances from the vehicles into the atmosphere. These eco-friendly methods have been borrowed by the Central Government for implementation in India. Did it prove successful? Let’s analyse the pros and cons of these measures in the Indian context, with specific reference to the latest introduction of BS-VI norms.
Insight into the Bharat Stage 6 (BS-VI) norms
In compliance with the Euro norms, India adopted the Bharat Stage norms. Since 1999, the Supreme Court of India conceding with the Central Government’s decision made it compulsory for everyone to adhere to the norms post the year 2000. Since then, we’ve had BS-I, BS-II, BS-III, BS-IV, and BS-VI norms formulated over the last two decades. In 2017, the Supreme Court of India declared that adhering to the decisions of the government, the automobile industry would have to jump to manufacturing BS-VI from BS-IV, fuel compliant vehicles.
A plausible inference drawn could be indicated towards the Central Government’s rising concern towards the depleting environment; hence, the decision to jump from BS-IV to BS-VI vehicles. All these vehicles would typically require a type of fuel that can comply with the new engine structure. Now, a contrast and comparison when made between the BS-IV and BS-VI vehicles, we find that if BS-IV consumes a fuel of BS-IV type, similarly, BS-VI would require BS-VI type fuel for the smooth functioning of the engine of that vehicle. Further, the fuel of BS-IV when contains 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, the BS-VI fuel contains only 10 ppm sulphur, which makes BS-VI a cleaner fuel for the environment.
The ‘declared war’ on climate change
Since the early 20th century, there has been a rise in concern for the protection of our environment. The increase in hazardous activities by humans, ranging from deforestation to creating substances harmful for the environment has only contributed toward the unstoppable ‘climate change’; rising temperature, melting of snow caps, depletion of the ozone layer, etc. are just a few effects to name. In recent times, the level of pollution has expedited in several regions, Delhi to be specific. It is because of the increase in pollutants from the increase in number of vehicles running on the streets of the capital. This has had far reaching effects on the health of the people as well the resources around us.
India’s readiness for adaptability to BS-VI norms
The Euro emission norms were formulated keeping in view the advanced technology that the vehicles would be used to be in compliance with these norms. When it comes to India, we are still a developing nation that is heavily reliant upon the developed economies for technical support. Before we launch a product, we study the market; when the Bharat Stage norms were introduced in the early 21st century, India was not yet equipped to adapt to such advanced technology. If we consider the current situation, even after two decades we lack the infrastructure required for such advanced manufacturing techniques.
The incoherence between the goal and the resources available has disrupted the automobile industry in India. If we look at the timeline between the introduction of Bharat Stage 1 norms and the current requirement of Bharat Stage 6 norms, the lack of planning is evident. Even though we have a huge population, we do not have the expertise in our automobile manufacturing industries to reach the level that Europe could.
If we look at Europe, the first stage norms were introduced in 1970, a time when Europe had already experienced modernity- development in scientific technology. What our authorities failed to realize is that before executing a plan, a proper skeletal draft needs to be made outlining the goal, resources available, financial requirements, and so on. Directing the manufacturers to manufacture vehicles that require advanced technical skills is futile because even cleaner fuels are not available for operating those vehicles.
There are cries on the streets by multiple manufacturers due to unforeseeable losses suffered by them because of an untimely, disappointing decision taken by the apex court. What will happen to those numerous vehicles which were once built in compliance with the BS-IV norms? Where will India get the expertise and enough cleaner fuel- BS-VI fuel to run the BS-VI vehicles? These questions lie unanswered because we first need our authorities to outline the plan for this mission, otherwise a very good plan would fail before it even saturates because of poor planning. Hence, the facts speak for themselves as to whether India is ready or not for BS-VI vehicles.