Electric vehicles

One of the major concerns worldwide

One of the major concerns worldwide and in particular India are rising air pollution. As per WHO study India has 13 out of 20 worlds’ most polluted cities which presents a gloomy picture of rising air pollution and its effects on health of people of the country, as over a million Indians die prematurely due to air pollution and 2 million children have abnormalities in lung functioning alone in Delhi.

The major reasons for the rising air pollution are burning of fossil fuels like coal, petrol, diesel etc.., which emit harmful gases like carbon monoxide, lead, sulfur dioxide, suspended particulate matter etc which have effects not only on environment but also on the human health. The major cause for vehicular emissions are mainly due to incomplete combustion of fuels, fuel adulteration like mixing of kerosene with petrol which further increases the emissions of harmful pollutants. In winters pollution gets further aggravated due to formation of smog which decreases the visibility which leads to accidents in the region due to poor visibility as we see in Delhi during winters every year.

Though many consider industries and thermal power plants (TPP) are major contributor of pollution, the neglected automobile sector also contribute major chunk of rising air pollution at 27% besides industries and TPP at 51%. In India the number of vehicles increased from 0.3 million in 1951 to 58.3 million in 2001-02. As population in urban areas is bound to rise as economy grows the number of people depending on vehicles going to rise at same phase as we have seen metro cities with increase personal disposable income the number of people dependent on personal vehicles going to rise.

As we have seen during covid-19 pandemic lockdown the air quality all around world including India has been substantially improved which shows that by reducing amount of consumption of fossil fuels the pollution in the atmosphere can be reduced.

Health costs of air pollution:

The most important reason for concern over the worsening air pollution is effect on the health of the individual.

  • Exposure to particulate matter for long time can lead to respiratory and cardiovascular diseases such as asthma, bronchitis lung cancer, heart attack.
  • The global burden of disease study for 2010 had found that out door air pollution was the fifth- lagest killer in india and around 620000 early deaths occurred from air pollution related deaths in 2010.
Pollutant Effect on health
Carbon monoxide Displaces the oxygen in blood, may lead to death of individual
Nitrogen dioxide Irritation and inflammation of lungs
Carbon dioxide Irritation in eyes, headache, heart strain
Smog Irritation in eyes and respiratory problems
Hydrocarbons Carcinogenic to lungs
Ozone Breathlessness, asthma, chest pain
Lead Damage to brain, central nervous system

Effects on environment:         

 The effect on environment gain will have again will have direct impact on population country like

  • Rise in temperature due to global warming due to release of pollutants like carbon dioxide, methane, benzene etc., which leads to increase disaster that have seen in recent past like flash floods in Hyderabad, Mumbai and landslides in Kerala.
  • Reduced photosynthesis of plants which will have impact on food security of the country.
  • Premature leaf fall.
  • Acid rains.

Measures taken by government:

  • National air control monitoring program by Central Pollution Control Board
  • Promotion of CNG and LNG as fuel
  • Shifting from BS IV to BS VI, bypassing BS V
  • Scaling up public transport with electric vehicles
  • Odd even scheme by Delhi government
  • Subsiding EVs

Though government has taken various initiatives like mentioned above they are all temporary solutions. The long term les in shifting to EV’s in both public and personal purposes. As we have seen countries like Germany trying phase out fossil fuel consumption by 2038 shifting to renewable energy, India also needs promote renewable sources by shifting to electric fleet so that not only pollution levels will reduce but also health impacts, oil import costs and future generations can live in pollution less urban areas.

Or

Keeping in view climate change commitments made by GOI, it is pertinent to introduce alternative means in transport sector which can be coupled with economic growth and rising urbanization. Electric mobility presents a viable alternative to address these various challenges. It also contributes to balancing energy demand and environment sustainability. It also comes with zero emissions and much lower noise.

Oil:

India imports 1.5 billion barrels of crude each year. This comes up to around 86% of its annual crude oil requirement. So, if there is surge in crude oil prices, this leads to increase in India’s expenditure, thus adversely affecting country’s fiscal deficit and also impacts Indian rupee and increases current account deficit. As India is projected one of the largest consumers of petroleum, the fiscal deficit will further increase.

Major part of imports comes from countries that are conflict prone like Syria, Iran, Venezuela etc which are conflict prone there are fluctuations in prices which have major impact on current account deficit of the country. For example the 1991 bop crisis in the country is mainly war in west Asia which leads to sudden increase cost of imports due to less production of oil. Even the imports of natural gas through pipelines will pass through countries like pakistan which are prone to terrorist attacks.

Though country’s exports are substantially increased over the years, this is mainly overshadowed by rising import bill of fuels. Even during the negative price of fuels in international markets, government was unable to pass on benefits to its people to reduce govt CAD.  As India’s economic growth is closely related to energy demand, the need for oil and gas is projected to grow more, this make India to diversify its energy needs by shifting to renewable sources of energy, so that not only import expenditure but also environment pollution can be reduced.

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