Old emission norms render RTO helpless
Emission standards same for B'luru city and forest regions
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had in 2008 concluded that vehicular emission accounts for 42% of the air pollution in the city. DH File Photo
Air quality in Bengaluru has drastically come down in the last five years but authorities say they have been rendered toothless by decade-old emission standards.
“Emission standards are same for Bengaluru and suburbs and even for towns in forest regions. How can you enforce a universal standard on this city without considering the 66 lakh vehicle population and rapid urbanisation,” an official in the Transport department said.
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) had in 2008 concluded that vehicular emission accounts for 42% of the air pollution in the city while construction and industrial activities shared a big part of the remaining 58%.
“For the past one year, we have enforced the Construction and Demolition Management Rules, 2016, which have checked the construction-related pollution. We expect the share of vehicles to increase to over 50%. We need another study to confirm this following which we can think of stringent standards,” said KSPCB chairman Lakshman.
Environment Support Group coordinator Leo Saldanha said it would be ideal to have city-specific emission standards as urbanisation, green cover and vehicle population should be taken into account while deciding the emission the city can handle.
“The Supreme Court order mandating that passenger vehicles should run on compressed natural gas is the best example for city-specific approach. But now it is time for policy makers to take the initiative instead of waiting for judiciary to set the standards,” he said.
In a similar move, the National Green Tribunal had tried to check pollution by diesel vehicles by banning 10-year-old vehicles.
“The Tamil Nadu government approached the NGT last month for relaxation of stay on buying diesel vehicles. We want cheaper options. But we need to ask at what cost,” said an official.
6 people to check 66 lakh vehicles
The only check of emission standards in Bengaluru is done by Transport department officials, Deccan Herald reports from Bengaluru.
The Regional Transport Office, however, is too short-staffed to ensure vehicles in the city are running as per the standards.
“We have six officials to inspect 66 lakh vehicles in Bengaluru Urban district,” a senior transport official said.
The official noted that Regional Transport Office officials check 12 to 15 parameters for each vehicle.
“We need to check emission standards of at least half of the 66 lakh vehicles that are old. But we will never be able to do that with six people. We need at least 25 people well versed with technical details to do these checks,” he said.