SIAM calls for integrated action by industry to address air quality issues

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 13 Nov 2019

L-R: ACMA's Vinnie Mehta and Deepak Jain; Road Transport Ministry's Priyank Bharti; SIAM's Rajan Wadhera and Vinod Aggarwal and Rajesh Menon.

Apex automobile body, the Society of Indian Automobile Manufacturers (SIAM) has called for an integrated approach by India Auto Inc to address air quality concerns by involving each key stakeholder, for achieving sustainable development goals and better air quality.

On November 11, SIAM organised a national conference on ‘Cleaner Mobility, Beyond 2020: Automotive Sector as an Agent of Positive Change’, in New Delhi. The aim essentially was to showcase the industry's commitment and contribution towards bettering air quality and promote sustainable mobility.

Rajan Wadhera, president, SIAM and president (Automotive Sector), Mahindra & Mahindra said, “With BS VI, now diesel will be at par with petrol in terms of tailpipe emissions. The rhetoric of diesel as a bad fuel should, therefore, be put to rest. We must now develop a national roadmap for alternative fuels towards cleaner mobility beyond 2020. Government has recognised that stubble burning is one of the major contributors of air pollution in Delhi-NCR. SIAM has also done its bit to address the issue through its anti-stubble burning campaign 'Sukh da Saah' in a small region of around 9 villages in Punjab by engaging with farmers and authorities to put a stop to this practice. The pilot project was successful in reducing stubble burning by 75%.”

There was discussion around various measures undertaken by the industry in conjunction with the government to drive the automotive industry towards a lower emissions threshold.Deepak Jain, president, ACMA and chairman and MD, Lumax Industries said, “Industry is making significant efforts for introduction of BS VI emission norms. At the same time, industry must bring to fore the significant role it plays in the national development and economic growth.”

An impact assessment report of the 'Sukh Da Saah' campaign titled ‘Improved Crop Residue Management Initiative Nabha, Patiala’, was launched which was followed by the first technical session on vehicle emissions and regulations.Vinod Aggarwal, treasurer, SIAM and MD and CEO, VE Commercial Vehicles said, “Smooth mobility of goods across the country is the lifeline of the economic growth. At the same time, we must ensure that we continue to move towards cleaner mobility through adoption of electric vehicles, alternative fuels and stricter compliance to emission norms.”

Experts debate sustainable mobility
In the first technical session on ‘Vehicle Emissions & Regulations’, Prof Mukesh Sharma, IIT Kanpur expounded upon various sources of air pollution, citing biomass burning as a major contributor. He stressed that transition to BS VI would bring in a new dawn which has been made possible with significant investments by the industry.

The second technical session focussed on 'Sustainable Mobility - Electrification & Alternative Fuels'. Delivering the opening marks Pravin Agrawal, joint secretary, Ministry of Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises said, “We need to tackle multiple national objectives. Apart from our aim to bring cleaner mobility with the ultimate aim of zero emissions in future, energy security is also a critical national requirement. Government and industry must work together to develop a framework of multiple technology options for multiple goals the country needs to achieve.”

The third technical session on Vehicle Life-Cycle Analysis was chaired by Manoj K Gangeya, director, Ministry of Environment, Forests & Climate Change. Ms. Rashmi Urdhwarshe, director, Automotive Research Association of India (ARAI) spoke on how circularity of the economy is one of the driving forces in achieving the goal of clean air. She stressed on the necessity of a massive shift to highly recyclable materials as the need of the hour.

Ms Rashmi Urdhwareshe, Director, Automotive Research Association of India said, "The way forward for the Auto Industry is to start developing alternative environmental friendly material and restrict the use of hazardous materials."

In the final session on ‘Integrated Approach for Clean Air Management’, Sharath Kumar Pallerla, director, Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change elucidated on the key short-term and long-term goals identified under the National Clean Air Program, that offer an integrated approach to tackle different issues causing air pollution.