Most vehicles in the Capital pass the pollution-under-control test only because the transport department doesn’t have the right equipment to assess many parameters.
At an inspection on Monday, where 97 of the 112 trucks were overloaded — a staggering 87% — only eight failed the pollution test. The checking was held on an order of the National Green Tribunal.
That may be because the test takes into account just the opacity of smoke, levels of carbon dioxide and hydrocarbon in the exhaust fumes, leaving out crucial pollutants such as particulate matter, oxides of nitrogen and sulphur
“We are just given this equipment and use it to check the said parameters. If the equipment does not check other parameters, we can’t really help it. If tomorrow, the equipment is changed, we will start using that,” said a senior transport department official.
Questioning the methods of the transport department and Delhi Pollution Control Committee, the National Green Tribunal said, “How is it possible that only eight vehicles were found to be violating pollution standards when 97 are overloaded? Which parameters were measured? Did you measure particulate matter 2.5? Are your officers not supposed to know what they are testing?” the bench asked.
According to standards for heavy diesel vehicles set by the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), parameters include levels of carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, nitrogen oxide and particulate matter.
The CPCB even refused to sign off on the report submitted by Delhi government saying they were included in the inspection.
Meanwhile, transport officials also said testing overloaded vehicles accurately was impossible.
“When we check vehicles, they are stationary. We just ask the drivers to rev up the engine. While we know that overloaded vehicles pollute more, there is no way to check how much more since revving alone can’t replicate the pollution caused when on the move,” said the transport department official.