Need to accelerate LPG access to poor, modernize vehicle fleet to strengthen NCAP: TERI

New Delhi, Jan 31 (PTI) Accelerating LPG access to the poor, moving commercial vehicles to BS-VI standard, and agriculture residue management are the key actions required to strengthen the National Clean Air Programme, an analysis by the environment think-tank TERI said on Friday.

The findings were presented at a thematic session on 'Multi-level Actions to Strengthen NCAP' at the World Summit on Sustainable Development 2020 on the concluding day of TERI's three-day flagship event here.

According to the analysis, a temporary intervention of Rs 184 per cylinder is required to push liquified petroleum gas (LPG) refills in the under-privileged section.

'The cost for provisioning the above intervention to nearly 40 million beneficiaries of the Pradhan Mantri Ujjwala Yojana is Rs 136.30 billion, which is likely to ensure eight refills, up from 0-3 refills, annually.

'This cost can be met through an additional pollution cess of one rupee per litre on petrol and diesel. Similarly, an amount generated from an increase of Re 1 per standard cubic metre of PNG (piped natural gas), as a cess, can be leveraged to either cross-subsidize or expand the PNG network, thus releasing subsidised LPG from urban areas to be used in rural areas,' it suggested.

It said while India is moving to BS-VI vehicle emission standard for new vehicles, the old fleet continues to pollute heavily.

'A cumulative reduction of 40 per cent in particulate matter (PM) and 43 per cent in Nitrogen Oxide (NOX) emissions from commercial vehicles can be achieved during 2020-40 through a fleet modernisation scheme,' it said.

Besides these, TERI said, agricultural waste management was vital. It suggested that crop residue can be utilised in a decentralised manner as fuel for running biomass gasifiers for various applications including electricity, agro-processing, and running decentralised cold storage.

Speaking about air quality management in India using a multi-sectoral approach, Satyendra Kumar, deputy secretary, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change, said there has been a steady reduction in average annual concentration of PM2.5 by about 19 per cent and in PM10 by about 25 per cent between 2016 and 2019 in Delhi.

'All stakeholders, including the civil society, will work together to take effective measures for management of air quality,' he said.

Speaking on the analysis, Anju Goel, fellow, Centre for Environmental Studies at TERI, said pollution does not occur in silos and the cost-benefit analysis approach helps in decision-making for air pollution control.

Elaborating on Central Pollution Control Board's efforts, its chairman S P S Parihar said, 'We're using satellite-based products to look at the entire country for PM hot spots, especially in the Indo-Gangetic plains. On a priority basis, CPCB is looking at the issue of controlling regional concentration levels to address city-specific issues.' PTI AG AG ABH ABH