Rise of Air Pollution this Winter : GRAP launch in Bengal

GRAP (graded response action plan) is a set of emergency measures to prevent air quality deterioration once certain threshold is reached.

GRAP is planned to be launched in all major polluted cities in Bengal.

AQI (air quality index) is a measure that decides the category of air quality - AQI rises as air quality goes bad to worse.

GRAP is divided into a number of stages - each stage activation follows certain range of AQI.

Stage 1 activated for poor category AQI. Stage 2,3 and 4 are imposed for `very poor', `severe' and `severe plus' respectively.

Coming winter is likely to see surge in air pollution. As temperature drops the stagnant pool of polluted air reaches close to the earth surface and causes health related difficulties.

GRAP includes periodical mechanical sweeping, sprinkling of water on roads, disposal of dust and garbages in designated sites, enforcement of garbage burning stop, containment of demolition materials and waste generation from construction sites. Traffic movement, monitoring identified pollution hot spots, PUC norms implementation, action against visibly polluting vehicles with fine are included in GRAP. Truck traffic diversion and 50% reduction of heavy vehicles movement, except for those meant for essential services and carrying essential commodities, strict action against bursting of banned firecrackers and use of non-compliant DG sets are also included in GRAP. more  

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Decarbonising mobility the biggest requirement. Diesel subsidies, since this government assumed office, have ended. Earlier Rs.20 to 25 per litre price subsidy made people, thinking about their personal monetary benefit, move towards the fuel that was the more polluting. Yes, 10 years back 58% personal vehicles sold were diesel! Today, the same proportion 17% only. more  
The group of seven major powers(G-7), the EU and Australia agreed to a $60 per barrel price cap on Russian seaborne crude oil. Russia is ranked as second in terms of oil shipments to India this summer. India has decided not to support the price cap on Russian oil announced by the G-7 countries and their allies. The price ceiling seeks to restrict Russia's revenue as punishment for its assault on Ukraine while making sure Russia keeps supplying the global market. India continues to import Russian oil despite the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine. India's exposure to Russian oil is not that significant that the price cap will affect India as other suppliers, such as Saudi Arabia, Iraq and UAE are the traditional major suppliers of crude oil to India. Price cap has been described as something that can lead to the global collapse of the oil industry and then a catastrophic rise in prices. Consumers will always insist that the price be lower. The oil industry is already under-invested, under funded and if consumers are followed to lower the price, investments can potentially be reduced to zero. Decarbonisation of mobility is the aim. LNG import terminals can drive decarbonisation of mobility. LNG as a fuel reduces CO2, minimises sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and particulate emissions to practically zero. Engines that use LNG as fuel can also consume bio-LNG without the need for modifications to their engines, which helps further reduce emissions. So instead of crude oil supply, if LNG supplies are to be raised, need is to have LNG import terminals. The LNG terminals have cryogenic tanks (some of the storage capacity of these tanks can reach 1000m3 or more). These LNG terminals are to be financed and with multi-technological approach, that uses all available solutions can help reach net zero emissions. more  
Beautiful looking cars, with aerodynamically designed bodies sell, whilst delivering power, using the greater power per litre in diesel, sell more, having a machismo appeal among the rich flaunting their wealth, even though the fuel remains the most polluting! Pollution, meanwhile affects the most the poorest. Poor suffer additionally, from medical poverty. How? Diseases such as asthma, afflict them by their being forced to spend their time outdoors. Government, that ought to have done the fiscal control such as making the rich balance out their consumerism with spending on preventive measures, whether technologically cleaning up the internal combustion engines, just like the manufactures do for making the product attractive by design, however remains just an onlooker. In short, situation very grim. GRAP just a symptom thereof. Government must address the core, detailed above. more  
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), ambient air pollution accounts for an estimated 4.2million (more or less) deaths a year, with greatest death toll in Asia. Coal fired power and liquid fuels for road (and marine transport) produces major air pollutants - particulate matter, oxides of sulphur and oxides of nitrogen. A switch to gas can significantly reduce air pollution. A decade ago, only few countries had access to LNG. Costly import terminals that took years to build and inflexible supply contracts complicated the widespread adoption of gas - despite the attractive near term economics. Concerns about the geopolitical risks of LNG dependence also stunted demand growth from existing importers, even when few other supply options were available. Today's market is very different. Number of LNG importing countries have increased. As the gas price premium over coal narrows, and the firming and emission advantages of gas over coal become clearer, markets can rebalance the energy mix towards gas. Limited gas-fired generation capacity however can make the switch from coal to gas fired power generation a difficult option to persue or a time consuming process to realize. Beyond power generation, gas can replace oil in transport sector. Gas can emerge as the fastest growing demand segment for transport globally. To capture the growth potential of LNG in an increasingly competitive market, most companies need to shift how they conduct business, particularly focussing their efforts in five areas : (i) realize capital efficiency, (ii) optimize the supply chain, (iii) invest in downstream market development, (iv) decarbonize supply and (v) build digital and advanced analytics capability. more  
Dieselisation of private transportation by car manufacturers at the root of all this. Petrol is cleaner distillate. Diesel being cheap provides the reason that the subsidy arbitrage shifted buyers towards raising demand thereof. 9 years back, the idea was mooted in making those LCVs, or basically any erstwhile privately run four wheelers i.e. other than railways, tractors and trucks pay the actual price of diesel, in order to correct this shift, but automobile lobby had that rationale overturned! Now we have the pollution. Diesel essentially, though having higher calorific value essentially dirtier. Diesel sedans give 34 kmpl, on a fuel costing Rs.89 a litre, with affordability factor being what it is! Buy expensive 4 wheelers but run them comparitively cheaper. Corporate sector gamed the system! Diesel burnt exhaust fumes black, have sulphur that does effect human internals. Diesel running trains too, converts the energy into electricity through generators which then power the engine! No internal combustion engine even there! Poorly communicated regulations, basically, the science making sense notwithstanding. Top that with knee-jerk, reactive enforcements.. more  
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