Bharat Standard Norms

Bharat Standard Norms

  • Introduced in the year 2000, the Bharat norms are emission control standards put in place by the government to keep a check on air pollution.
  • Based on the European regulations (Euro norms), these standards set specifications/limits for the release of air pollutants from equipment using internal combustion engines, including vehicles. Typically, the higher the stage, the more stringent the norms.
  • The BS IV norms were introduced in 13 cities apart from the National Capital Region from April 2010.
  • Currently, BS IV fuel is being made available across the country in stages, with the entire nation expected to be covered by April1 2017.
  • Implementation of the BS V standard was earlier scheduled for 2019.
  • This has now been skipped.
  • BS VI, originally proposed to come in by 2024 has been now advanced to 2020, instead.

Why is it important?

  • Upgrading to stricter fuel standards helps tackle air pollution.
  • Global automakers are betting big on India as vehicle penetration is still low here, when compared to developed countries.
  • At the same time, cities such as Delhi are already being listed among those with the poorest air quality in the world.
  • With other developing countries such as China having already upgraded to the equivalent of Euro V emission norms a while ago, India has been lagging behind.
  • While BS IV-compliant fuel currently in use has 50 parts per million (ppm) sulphur, BS VI stipulates a low 10 ppm.
  • Besides, under BS VI, particulate matter emission for diesel cars and nitrogen oxide levels are expected to be substantially lower than in BS IV.
  • The experience of countries such as China and Malaysia (which is currently grappling with haze) shows that poor air quality can be bad for business.
  • Therefore, leapfrogging to BS VI can put India ahead in the race for investments too.
  • When BS VI norms are implemented, you can look forward to breathing in cleaner air in cities.
  • New vehicles sold from 2020 will have to be equipped with engines compliant with the new standards.
  • Besides, the government is also thinking about a ‘cash-for-clunkers’ scheme for scrapping old vehicles.
  • This will help owners of older and more polluting vehicles to upgrade to newer vehicles which use cleaner fuel, with a subsidy from the government.
  • Upgraded emission norms could also mean less fuel-guzzling vehicles.
  • On the flip side, the use of new technology means higher costs for automobile manufacturers.
  • And that, dear buyer, will be passed on to you when you look to upgrade to your next car.
  • Oil refiners too will need higher capital outlays to produce superior quality fuel and may look to pass on the bill to you.
  • But remember it’s for a good cause.
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Major Air Pollutants

Major Air Pollutants

Particulate matter (PM):

  • PM affects more people than any other pollutant.
  • The major components of PM are sulfate, nitrates, ammonia, sodium chloride, black carbon, mineral dust and water.
  • It consists of a complex mixture of solid and liquid particles of organic and inorganic substances suspended in the air.
  • The most health-damaging particles are those with a diameter of 10 microns or less, (≤ PM10), which can penetrate and lodge deep inside the lungs.
  • Chronic exposure to particles contributes to the risk of developing cardiovascular and respiratory diseases, as well as of lung cancer.
    • Health effects:
  • There is a close, quantitative relationship between exposure to high concentrations of small particulates (PM10 and PM2.5) and increased mortality or morbidity, both daily and over time.
  • Small particulate pollution have health impacts even at very low concentrations – indeed no threshold has been identified below which no damage to health is observed.

Ozone (O3):

  • Ozone at ground level – not to be confused with the ozone layer in the upper atmosphere – is one of the major constituents of photochemical smog.
  • It is formed by the reaction with sunlight (photochemical reaction) of pollutants such as nitrogen oxides (NOx) from vehicle and industry emissions and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by vehicles, solvents and industry.
  • As a result, the highest levels of ozone pollution occur during periods of sunny weather.
    • Health effects:
  • Excessive ozone in the air can have a marked effect on human health.
  • It can cause breathing problems, trigger asthma, reduce lung function and cause lung diseases.

Nitrogen dioxide (NO2): 

  • As an air pollutant, NO2 has several correlated activities.
  • At short-term concentrations exceeding 200 μg/m3, it is a toxic gas which causes significant inflammation of the airways.
  • NO2 is the main source of nitrate aerosols, which form an important fraction of PM2.5 and, in the presence of ultraviolet light, of ozone.
  • The major sources of anthropogenic emissions of NO2 are combustion processes (heating, power generation, and engines in vehicles and ships).
    • Health effects:
  • Epidemiological studies have shown that symptoms of bronchitis in asthmatic children increase in association with long-term exposure to NO2.
  • Reduced lung function growth is also linked to NO2.

Sulfur dioxide (SO2):

  • SO2 is a colourless gas with a sharp odour.
  • It is produced from the burning of fossil fuels (coal and oil) and the smelting of mineral ores that contain sulfur.
  • The main anthropogenic source of SO2 is the burning of sulfur-containing fossil fuels for domestic heating, power generation and motor vehicles.
    • Health effects:
  • SO2 can affect the respiratory system and the functions of the lungs, and causes irritation of the eyes.
  • Inflammation of the respiratory tract causes coughing, mucus secretion, aggravation of asthma and chronic bronchitis and makes people more prone to infections of the respiratory tract.
  • Hospital admissions for cardiac disease and mortality increase on days with higher SO2 levels.
  • When SO2 combines with water, it forms sulfuric acid; this is the main component of acid rain which is a cause of deforestation.

Carbon monoxide: 

  • It comes from the burning of fossil fuels, mostly in cars. It cannot be seen or smelled.
    • Health effects:
  • Carbon monoxide makes it hard for body parts to get the oxygen they need to run correctly.
  • Exposure to carbon monoxide makes people feel dizzy and tired and gives them headaches.
  • In high concentrations it is fatal.
  • Elderly people with heart disease are hospitalized more often when they are exposed to higher amounts of carbon monoxide.

Air Pollution

Causes of air pollution:

  • Diesel vehicles are more polluting than petrol
  • They are high in PM, Nitrogen oxide not good for health
  • Ban 10 year old diesel truck entering city
  • Vehicular emissions
  • Dust emissions from construction work, thermal power plants etc..
  • Burning of wastes etc..

Major pollutants:

  • Benzene – byproduct of burning diesel.
    • It is carcinogen  (cancer causing tissue)..
    • Short term inhaling causes drowsiness, headaches
    • Long term inhaling causes disorders like anemia
    • Effect on reproductive system on women and foetus
  • Nitrogen di oxide 
    • From vehicle emission and coal based power plants
    • Lung infection and respiratory allergies
  • Carbon mono oxide 
    • Unborn babies, infants, elderly are at risk
  • Particulate matter 
    • Dust to dirt and soot
    • PM 2.5 > PM 10 (dangerous for human health, respiratory system)

How to avoid?

  • Use public transportation
  • Car pool
  • Increase car tax during vehicle registration
  • Put a cap on number of cars registered per year in the city
  • Increase parking charges
  • Lay more convenient roads for walking and biking
  • Introduce congestion charges to avoid traffic [ congestion charge is a tax you pay to drive your private vehicles in certain zones of the city].. Cities like Singapore and London has them implemented
  • Smoke emission report has to be checke

Gangetic Dolphin

  • Dolphins are one of the oldest creatures in the world along with some species of turtles, crocodiles and sharks.
  • Platanista gangetica , the biological name of the Gangetic river dolphin, also called the “blind” river dolphin or the “side-swimming dolphin” is unique to India and an endangered species.
  • Ganges river dolphins once lived in the Ganges-Brahmaputra-Meghna and Karnaphuli-Sangu river systems of Nepal, India, and Bangladesh.
  • But the species is extinct from most of its early distribution ranges.
  • The Ganges river dolphin can only live in freshwater and is essentially blind.
  • They hunt by emitting ultrasonic sounds, which bounces off of fish and other prey, enabling them to “see” an image in their mind.
  • The Ganges River dolphin is threatened by removal of river water and siltation arising from deforestation, pollution and entanglement in fisheries nets.
  • In addition, alterations to the river due to barrages are also separating populations
  • This dolphin is among the four “obligate” freshwater dolphins – the other three are the baiji now likely extinct from the Yangtze river in China, the bhulan of the Indus in Pakistan and the boto of the Amazon River in Latin America.
  • River Dolphin is the National Aquatic Animal of India.

What is Green Climate Fund?

What is Green Climate Fund?

  • The Fund is a unique global platform to respond to climate change by investing in low-emission and climate-resilient development.
  • GCF was established by 194 governments to limit or reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions in developing countries, and to help vulnerable societies adapt to the unavoidable impacts of climate change.
  • Given the urgency and seriousness of this challenge, the Fund is mandated to make an ambitious contribution to the united global response to climate change.
  • The Copenhagen Accord, established during the 15th Conference Of the Parties (COP-15) in Copenhagen in 2009 mentioned the “Copenhagen Green Climate Fund”.
  • The fund was formally established during the 2010 United Nations Climate Change Conference in Cancun and is a fund within the UNFCCC framework.
  • Its governing instrument was adopted at the 2011 UN Climate Change Conference (COP 17) in Durban, South Africa.
  • GCF is accountable to the United Nations.
  • It is guided by the principles and provisions of the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC).
  • It is governed by a Board of 24 members, comprising an equal number of members from developing and developed countries.
  • The GCF is based in the new Songdo district of Incheon, South Korea.
  • It is intended to be the centrepiece of efforts to raise Climate Finance of $100 billion a year by 2020.
  • The Green Climate Fund is the only stand-alone multilateral financing entity whose sole mandate is to serve the Convention and that aims to deliver equal amounts of funding to mitigation and adaptation.

National Mission for Clean Ganga

  • National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG) is the implementation wing of National Ganga River Basin Authority (NGRBA).
  • It is a registered society originally formed by Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change(MoEFCC) on 12th August 2011 under the Societies Registration Act, 1860.
  • Now both NGRBA and NMCG are allocated to the Ministry of Water Resources, River Development and Ganga Rejuvenation(MoWR,RD &GR).
  • As per the approval of the Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA), the mandate of NGRBA is being implemented by, the National Mission for Clean Ganga (NMCG).
  • At national level NMCG is the coordinating body and is being supported by States Level Program Management Groups (SPMGs) of UP, Uttarakhand, Bihar and West Bengal which, are also registered as societies under Societies Registration Act, 1860 and a dedicated Nodal Cell in Jharkhand.
  • The area of operation of NMCG shall be the Ganga River Basin, including the states through which Ganga flows, as well as the National Capital Territory of Delhi.
  • The NMCG has been a registered society since 2012 and its role is largely to fund projects to implementing organisations. It didn’t have legal powers to “tackle various threats” or issue directions to polluters.
  • The NMCG, which now has the status of an Authority, will have a two-tier management structure with a governing council to be chaired by a Director General. There will also be State-level committees.
  • A key focus of the authority will be maintaining required ecological flows in the Ganga with the aim of ensuring water quality and environmentally sustainable development.