Time to crack down on pollution

The Delhi Transport Department is back to checking vehicles for Pollution Under Control (PUC) certificates. 

In a special drive launched after a diktat from the Delhi High Court, the transport department and Delhi traffic police are inspecting vehicles for the fitness 
certificate. 

This means that if you haven’t gotten your vehicle checked for toxic emission recently and procured a fitness certificate, you may be liable for a Rs 1,000 fine the first time you are caught and Rs 2,000 fine every time thereafter. 

This drive started on March 26 and will go on for a month. 

Environmental experts, however, say that such ‘sporadic drives’ do not adequately appreciate the problem of vehicular pollution in Delhi and will most probably be forgotten by motorists in time. 

Some others point out that the PUC norms also need to be strengthened further for toxic vehicular emissions to be controlled effectively.   

Dr Rohit Baluja, president of Indian Road Traffic Education (IRTE), says, “Such drives, at the end of the day, only show that the attention of the police is scattered; that the authorities are taking note of something only when the courts point it out. Vehicular pollution is a much graver issue in a city like Delhi where we see smog-like conditions even as late as February and March. PUC-verification drives should ideally be conducted like seat belt checking, every day of the week and year, 24X7.”

Executive director - Research and Advocacy at Centre for Science and Environment, Anumita Roychowdhury points out that the PUC norms for diesel vehicles and non-Euro 4 compliant vehicles is still weak. 

“Petrol vehicles, in our city, are checked for hydrocarbon and carbon monoxide emissions besides the Lambda test that tests for the amount of oxygen in the fuel chamber after a cycle of combustion. On the other hand, in the case of a diesel vehicle, only the density of the smoke is checked in a PUC test.”
 
“More so,” she adds, “Even for the non-Euro 4 compliant petrol vehicles, the PUC norms need to be brought at par with Euro 4 compliant petrol vehicles. This is vital.”

Dr Bhure Lal, chairman of the Environment Pollution Control Authority, set up by SC in 1998 to control vehicular pollution in Delhi, adds, “Motorists must also take responsibility for the fitness of their vehicles. It should become a habit with them to get their vehicles checked at fuel stations regularly. Unfortunately, inspite of such drives, we see vehicles spewing thick black smoke on the roads. Better enforcement is the demand of the situation.”
Baishali Adak

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