From the April 1st this year, Delhi has become the first Indian city to make the switch from Euro-IV grade petrol and diesel to the latest Euro-VI standard. This ultra clean fuel is being supplied by state-owned oil firms at no additional cost. The rule is applicable in National Capital Territory which includes cities like Noida, Ghaziabad, Gurugram and Faridabad. Furthermore, 13 major Indian cities are set to adopt the new fuel standard by January 2019.
Well, less air pollution of course.
The National Capital Territory is one of the most densely populated and highly polluted areas in the country. The main cause behind urban air pollution is the high level of human and industrial activity, which means there is more energy being consumed. And the fact that this energy comes from unclean sources like petrochemicals and coal means pollution levels will continue to rise.
If you think about it, the pollution scenario in crowded urban centers like Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore has become a vicious cycle of sorts. For example, there are always more people to transport, so the traffic jams are increasing, so the fuel consumption is rising and so the pollution is rising, and on top of that even more people are heading for these cities. In another case, the rising population means a rise in demand for basic necessities like water and electricity. More people means more electric power, which needs building more capacity, which means more coal burning and more carbon emissions.
The annual fuel consumption in Delhi-NCR is about 9.6 lakh tonnes of petrol and 12.65 lakh tonnes of diesel. The Euro-VI fuel contains 10 parts per million (ppm) of Sulphur when compared to the 50 ppm in Euro-IV fuels. Therefore, the push for cleaner fuels, even if they are still carbon based, is a good one. India hopes to achieve a countrywide switch to Euro-VI fuels by 2020.
In the meanwhile, the government is also promoting renewables at an extensive pace. India is now the 4th largest solar power producer in the world. Apart from commercial solar power plants, rooftop solar solutions have also seen a healthy growth in the last couple of years. After witnessing several winter smog fiascos the demand for rooftop solar solutions in Delhi and other urban centers has also seen a rise. People are becoming more aware of the reasons behind the annual choking season and actively taking steps for its resolution, which is good news.
Other renewables like wind and hydel power are also being seen as the key drivers for the next energy revolution in the country. Moreover, electricity grids are being updated to support the renewables projects which makes it possible for consumers to switch to on-grid renewable power, allowing them to bring down their electricity costs.
So, all in all, the switch marks a very good initial step in the direction of a greener, cleaner future for India and its people.