In the wake of the ruling by the NGT (National Green Tribunal) where diesel-run vehicles have been banned from getting registered in Delhi, it is imperative to understand the difference between the emissions from petrol-run and diesel-run vehicles.
The diesel versus petrol debate has been a hot topic for long. Believe it or not but diesel was at one
point of time considered an efficient and viable solution to the pollution caused by petrol. It is common knowledge that vehicles with higher torque run on diesel as a diesel engine not only operates on higher temperature and emits less carbon dioxide. Not too long ago, the government in UK even made a push to switch to diesel from petrol as it was the ‘greener fuel’.
Diesel had it going its way. What happened then? Well, just like an Agatha Christie novel, diesel turned out to be the surprising murderer lurking in the background all along. With all eyes on petrol cars and their higher carbon monoxide emissions, we ignored the unregulated particulate matter emissions from diesel cars. Particulate matter which was present in negligible amount in petrol car emissions was supplied in toxic amounts from diesel cars.
The toxic cocktail of benzene, arsenic, formaldehyde and other cancer-causing chemicals is a regular
emission from the diesel fuel exhaust. The particles which are less than one-fifth the thickness of human hair can sit in our lungs and enter our bloodstream putting us all at the risk of cancer and respiratory diseases.
Catalytic converters in petrol cars have helped reduce the carbon monoxide emissions and making them relatively safer. Diesel technology on the other hand has not done enough to justify its continual usage in vehicles. Time is ripe for some cutting edge research and innovation for filters that can effectively control the diesel emissions. Till then, we need the venom-spewing diesel monsters to be chained by such decrees as the one given by the NGT.