Brihanmumbai Electricity Supply and Transport (BEST) buses, that ferry thousands of commuters every day, have been unable to meet the pollution standards set by the Centre.
As per the latest pollution standards set in April 2010, these buses need to meet Euro IV standards (the Indian equivalent is Bharat Standards). Of the total fleet of 4,700 buses, the BEST has only 12 that meet the new standards.
These buses have been procured recently under the Jawaharlal Nehru National Renewal Mission (JNNURM). There are around 2,000 buses in the fleet that follow the Euro III norm, while the remaining buses purchased years ago have Euro II as the set standard.
“The new norm was introduced only in April 2010. We conform to pollution standards and will try our best to see that engines and fuel are efficient and emit less pollution,” BEST general manager, OP Gupta, said.
Meanwhile, sources in the BEST said the remaining 187 buses coming under the JNNURM don’t conform to Euro IV standards as the order to manufacture them was given before April.
The basic difference between Euro IV and Euro III norms is that the emission levels of carbon dioxide, nitrogen oxides, total hydrocarbons (THC), non-methane hydrocarbons (NMHC) and carbon monoxide are lower by 10 per cent. “Although the emission levels under Euro III and Euro IV are lower, the total pollution level will remain more or less the same as there are many buses running on the roads,” said Rishi Aggarwal, director, Centre for Sustainable Transport.
Recently, the Ministry for Petroleum set norms for Euro IV grade fuel for 13 cities including Mumbai, and Euro III, which has ultra-low sulphur and benzene, for the rest of the country.
When the Euro IV grade fuel was launched in April, petrol prices were hiked by Rs 0.50 per litre and diesel by Rs 0.26 per litre, while the prices of petrol were raised by Rs 0.26 per litre and diesel by Rs 0.21 a litre under Euro III across India.
Meanwhile, BEST plans to introduce a new 40-seater air-conditioned bus, manufactured by Mercedes, by October. The authorities will have a trial run of these buses for a month.