According to a recent study conducted by International Council on Clean Transportation at the European Union, the average Nitrogen oxides (NOx) emissions from cars is 480-560 mg/km. The average NOx emissions of a normal heavy-duty vehicle is 210 mg/km.
Buses and trucks, though, have bigger engines and burn more diesel per kilometre. This means that cars produce around 10 times more toxins than trucks when NOx per kilometre is calculated.
But what does that mean to you?
It means that the diesel car that's proudly parked outside your building pollutes the country ten times more than a truck.
"The main problem is that more and more people are opting for diesel car these days. Diesel comes for about Rs 58/ litre as opposed to Rs 70 for petrol," says Anumita Roychowdhury, executive director, The Centre For Science and Environment
India's rapidly growing diesel car market
According to Roychowdhury, pollution caused by one diesel car is equivalent to "3-7 petrol cars".
"And the sales of diesel cars are 52% of total vehicular sales in the world," says Anumita Of CSE.
Since the studies were carries out in Europe, which has Euro VI standard, Indians should be more alarmed by the implications of the study, claims Anumita. "Our standards are lower. Which means our cars will emit more harmful pollutants," says Anumita.
The diesel problem in our Capital
In mid 2000s, when the Sheila Dikshit government tried to make Delhi a diesel-free zone to control air pollution, she was confronted with a lot of resistance. "There were too many vested interested. Auto manufacturers felt that it's unfair that we are stopping their growth. On the other hand, the air quality has become worse. I don't think the problem will be solved so easily even now. Unless there’s a collective decision and different lobbies decide to come together for the good of the people, nothing can be done," says Sheila Dikshit in a telephonic interview with ScoopWhoop News.
Though the Capital's government has successfully phased out diesel automobiles from the public transport sector, there is a rapid rise in diesel cars in the private sector. "The irony is that on one hand government is telling you that diesel engines are bad and one the other hand the sale of diesel private cars is unrestricted," says Anumita.
What's the solution?
"We can't stop the sale of diesel cars. but the government can levy more taxes on them," says Anumita. According to Prarthana Bora, director of Clean Air Asia, the solution has to be more "far-sighted". "It's true that diesel cars pollute more than petrol cars. It's also true that the study of them being bigger pollutants than trucks is alarming, but we need to understand that the onus is also on us, the buyers. We need to be more responsible as consumers. We should train our drivers to be more environmentally conscious. We should not use our cars for short distances," says Bora.