public health crisis in the Delhi-NCR region as well as in rest of the country, the experts said the 2017 Global Burden of Disease (GBD) report suggests India has the second highest number of early deaths due to particulate matter 2.5 in the world.
Early deaths due to ozone pollution are the highest in India. More than a quarter of global deaths due to air pollution occur in India alone.
Environment activist Ritwick Dutta said at a time when there should be stricter regulations as well as action with respect to control of air pollution, the exact opposite is happening.
"There has been a systematic rollback and dilutions with respect to air control regulations. Over the last few months, the government has done away with the requirement of consent under the Air Act for a range of projects which includes buildings and construction projects.
"There is no seriousness in implementing the new emission standards for coal fired power plants as power plants are being approved based on the old standards. Thus there is a complete lack of sensitivity to this critical issue," he said.
CSE's Roychowdhury maintained that it is "unacceptable" that even though the industry is producing BS-IV vehicles since 2010 for earmarked regions, most companies have not slowed down the production of BS-III vehicles.
"Instead, they have chosen to remain in a business as-usual state. There has been no proactive strategy in place to prepare for this transition," she said.
CSE analysts also point out that there are some companies which have taken the steps to stop production of BS-III vehicles in advance including Maruti Udyog Ltd, Toyota, Hyundai, General Motors and the leading two-wheeler manufacturer Bajaj Auto Ltd.
"This transition is critical as the movement from BS-III to BS-IV can lead to substantial reductions in particulate matter emissions.
"For instance, from new trucks, the emissions can dip by 80 per cent and from cars by half. Similarly, hydrocarbon and nitrogen oxide emissions -- a big concern from two-wheelers -- can reduce by 41-80 per cent, depending on the engine size," CSE analysts said.
After today's Supreme Court order, all new vehicles to be sold in India from April 1, 2017 will have to meet the BS-IV emissions norms.
"Given the fact that as many as 20 million vehicles are registered in a year (as per the data of the Union Ministry of Road Transport and Highways), this transition will make significant difference to public health exposure," Roychowdhury added.
(This article has not been edited by DNA's editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)