Govt’s Green Agenda of the decade!

I have a lot of respect for our outspoken and generally level headed environment minister Jairam Ramesh. However as ministers go they all have to say something weird every once in a while. I am referring to this news item from the Times Of India: http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/business/india-business/Discourage-sale-of-BMWs-Audis-says-Jairam/articleshow/6913269.cms

Some of the statements like fuel efficiency norms are quite valid but, with all due respect, other statements only make a very partial sense at best. There are a zillion things to do to reduce carbon and other effluent emissions and pollution in general in India. Trying to stomp down on modern day fuel-efficient, emission norms compliant vehicles is basically the least of those. I think the following have more priority:

  • Why not stomp down first on carbon and pollutant belching and diesel guzzling years old trucks. One of these would be pumping out pollutants equivalent to 50 AUDIs put together every day.
  • Why not stomp down on the minivans, matadors, upgraded autorickshaws, country jeeps, tempo traveller vans, mini trucks, country motor fitted carriages and sundry other vehicles of every description plying recklessly in Indian cities. Some of these are even fitted with pump-derived motors and they belch clouds of black smoke to their hearts content.
  • Why not maintain older Govt buses properly so that they do not belch pollutants including monoxide. Some authorities like in Bangalore are using more and more of latest Volvo buses but the authorities need to introduce CNG on war footing.
  • Why not force all autorickshaws to use CNG or at least an LPG conversion kit instead of using Kerosene mixed with motor oil as fuel and belching dangerous pollutants.
  • Why not strictly enforce fines for all vehicles belching black smoke on the roads instead of simply catching 2-wheelers for document checking or cars for signal violation.
  • Improve road quality and traffic management – better roads and better traffic management lead to smoother vehicle movement and reduced overall fuel consumption and emission.
  • Why not regulate industrial pollution and emissions. Just as an example several of Bangalore’s large lakes are have been converted into toxic cesspools by scores of unregulated garment factories spewing tonnes of industrial effluent into them. These effluents include persistent chemicals that form long-lasting foam when exposed to light and air. These foams coat the inlet and outlets to these lakes and refuse to go away.
  • Why not regulate use of plastic bags especially the thin toxic locally-made ones.
  • Why not regulate use of country-made 4x4s with no emission norms at all..

There are many others but I listed the ones I thought were most important and in context.

Respected minister sir I’d consider all these as criminal destruction of our environment rather than use of high-end Audis and BMWs. How many of these high-end SUVs get sold in a year ? Does it really make sense for 50 Audis not to get sold in a calendar year when other weirdo vehicles are pumping in hundreds of tonnes of emissions daily ?

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