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Deadly fumes

Amidst billows of smoke and long-winded traffic jams, an auto rickshaw ride during peak hours in Delhi will leave one struggling for breath. One of the underlying causes behind Delhi’s deteriorating air quality is diesel-run vehicles. The problem does not necessarily lie with diesel-run vehicles, but the technology used. Unlike Europe, where car manufactures offer measures like reducing the sulphur content in fuel, diesel-run vehicles in India do not partake of such measures. 

When an engine burns diesel, the exhaust it releases contains a mixture of gaseous materials and particulates, which cause cancer and various other diseases. According to a report backed by the Indian Council for Medical Research, lung cancer cases in  Delhi have been increasing 2 to 3 per cent every. In fact doctors have told patients with respiratory ailments to leave the city due its poor air quality, according to a news report by a leading national daily. The debate surrounding lung cancer in India, however, has only been associated with smoking. Inhalation of diesel fumes from vehicles and generator sets, though, play a significant part in causing lung cancer and other such health ailments, according experts in field.

Therefore, the Delhi police’s decision to impound around 100 vehicles in compliance with the National Green Tribunal’s order, which put a ban on plying of diesel-run vehicles of more than 10 years old in the national capital, is a welcome move. In fact the Tribunal had also directed the Transport Department of Delhi government and other concerned authorities to prepare a thorough data set of all such registered vehicles, which are 10 or more years old. Aside from such moves, the Delhi government must shore up the city’s public transport system, which according to the Tribunal will help rein in rising pollution levels in the city.
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