India is all set to kick start the Bharat Stage VI norms, beginning April 2020. The step is needed, especially since India has some of the world’s most polluted cities, emitting more than the prescribed norms of gases and particulate matter.
Bharat Stage Norms are similar to the Euro norms, followed abroad, and are an indigenous version of it. As of now, transport norms in India are governed by the Bharat Stage IV, which was introduced only in 2017.
The government, had, however, announced it in 2016, that it was bypassing the V generation version of it, thereby showing the intent of the policymakers in arresting this global emission surge.
The concept of emission norms is very nascent, with it being introduced only in the 1990s, in the form of wet scrubbers or electrostatic precipitators.
By introducing these Bharat Stage Norms, which are conceptualised on the basis of Euro norms, India will be joining a prized list of countries like America, and Japan, as well as the European Union, who follow these steps.
I believe India’s policy to arrest the growing pollution and climate change is highly commendable. With the Paris Climate deal leading the way, India has pledged to reduce emission standards by 33-35% of 2005 base year levels.
It also aims to facilitate 40% of its energy source from non-fossil fuels and target a 175 gigawatts (GW) capacity through non-conventional sources.
Shifting to a new Bharat Stage VI norm will be highly beneficial. Sulphur and Nitrogen Oxides (Nox), which are two potent threats to our climate and cause pollution, will be highly contained, as it is able to bring out an estimated 80% reduction in sulphur from 50 parts per million (ppm) to 10 ppm. Moreover, Nox from diesel cars will come down to 75% and in petrol by 25%.
Not only emission norms, but the policy framework as per the Paris Agreement, also pledges to increase forest cover, so as to absorb 2.5 billion tonnes worth of carbon dioxide.
Moreover, the recent report by the Forest Survey of India gives a fillip, as India has added nearly 5000 square kilometres in just two years.
Besides, schemes like FAME that call for the use of electric vehicles is another example of how the policymakers view our environment.
As per the World Bank report 2013, the annual cost of environmental degradation in India amounts to about Rs. 3.75 trillion ($80 billion) equivalent to 5.7% of GDP.
Besides, the report states that 23% of child mortality is due to environmental degradation; add to this, reduction in man-hours because of diseases and climate change.
“The earth is what we all have in common”- Wendell Berry.
Therefore, it is not just the government, but our common clause, that mother earth is to be respected and one is able to reduce, re-use, refuse and recycle to the maximum.