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Status Report on Air Pollution from Vehicles in Amritsar City

Robin1 and Ashwani Kumar Thukral1


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Department of Botanical & Environmental Sciences Guru Nanak Dev
University, Amritsar-143005 Punjab, India

Department of Botanical & Environmental Sciences

Guru Nanak Dev University, Amritsar-143005 Punjab, India

(2009)

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Abstract

The city of Amritsar (Lat. 31° 37' 59'' and Long. 74° 51' 56'') is situated in the
State of Punjab in the north-western region of India. On account of increase in the
population over the years, there has been an incessant increase in the number of vehicles,
which is a serious cause of concern and ecological imbalance in the city. The road
transport has been a major source of urban air pollution in the town. The principal
vehicular pollutants are carbon monoxide (CO), oxides of nitrogen (NOX), hydrocarbons
(HC), suspended particulate matter, a varying amount of sulphur dioxide and lead
compounds. The main objective of the present study was to compare emission of
pollutants viz. CO, HC and NOX for different vehicles like two-wheelers, three-wheelers,
four-wheelers (petrol) viz., cars/jeeps, and four-wheeler (diesel) vehicles in Amritsar. The
vehicular data was collected from District Transport Office, Amritsar for the years 2004-
2009. For the years 2004-2009 the total numbers of registered vehicles were: two
wheelers- 1,26,905, three wheelers- 4,390, four wheelers (petrol)- 28,901, and four
wheelers (diesel)- 7,191. Annual emission of pollutants (CO, HC and NOX) from
different vehicles was calculated by annual fuel consumption (tonnes/year) of respective
vehicle. The results of the study show that the total pollution load on the city per year for
CO is 4,534.33 tonnes/year, for HC is 2,428.45 tonnes/year and for NOX is 167.02
tonnes/year. CO and HC emissions due to two-wheelers were enormously high, that is
2,204.41 tonnes/year and 1,559.04 tonnes/year respectively. NOX emission due to four-
wheelers/diesel vehicles is 67.83 tonnes/year, which is low as compared to the CO and
HC emissions. Therefore two-wheelers contribute maximum amount of emission of CO
(49%) and HC (65%), among all the vehicles, thus revealing a high pollution load on the
city.

Keywords: Amritsar; Vehicular pollution; carbon monoxide; oxides of nitrogen;


hydrocarbons; sulphur dioxide.

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1. Introduction

The city of Amritsar (Lat. 31° 37' 59'' and Long. 74° 51' 56'') is situated in the
State of Punjab in the north-western region of India. On account of increase in the
population over the years, there has been an incessant increase in the number of vehicles,
which is a serious cause of concern and ecological imbalance (Bignal et al, 2007) in the
city. The problem is being further aggravated by increasing migration from the
neighbouring states. The road transport has been a major source of urban air pollution
(Ramachandra et al, 2009) in the town. Both petrol and diesel engine vehicles contribute
to pollution. The Diesel engines pollutes air much less than petrol engines though both
engines are not very efficient converters of fuel energy, however, diesel engines with
efficiency of approximately 30% are more efficient and use a lesser amount of fuel than
petrol engines with 15-20% efficiency (Central Statistical Organization, 2009). The two
stroke engines pose serious air pollution problem from two- and three-wheeled vehicles
because two-stroke engines burn an oil–gasoline mixture and emit more smoke, carbon
monoxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter than the gas-only four-stroke engines
(Potera, 2004). The burning of fuels from both types of engines contributes to several
pollutants categorized as regulated (NOX, HC, CO and particulate matter) and
unregulated (SO2, CO2, methane, xylene, benzene, toluene, formaldehyde etc.) pollutants
(Agarwal, 2007). The regulated pollutants have limits prescribed by environmental
legislations, such as USEPA, EURO and BHARAT norms, whereas unregulated
pollutants have no prescribed limit by any legislation (Agarwal, 2007).

According to one estimate by the Department of Environment, Government of


India, on average a million vehicles (diesel and petrol) exhaust discharges, 250 tonnes of
carbon monoxide (CO), 400 tonnes of hydrocarbons (HC), 6 tonnes of sulphur dioxide
(SO2), 600 kg of lead (Pb), and large quantities of Suspended Particulate daily (Sinha,
1993). The polluted air decreases the oxygen intake necessary for normal physiological
functioning of body and cause severe health impacts (Mahajan, 2006). On daily basis an
average healthy person inhales16 kg of air (Sinha, 1993; Mahajan, 2006) and these
pollutants pose serious health hazards to human beings particularly urban inhabitants
(Ahmad et al, 2005). In children intake of air into the lungs is much greater than adults

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because they perform a greater level of physical activity than adults, hence higher intake
of air means that more air pollutants enter the lungs and therefore children are more
vulnerable to chronic respiratory diseases (Salvi, 2007; Wichmann et al, 2009; Romieu et
al, 2008). The main objective of the study is to compare emission of pollutants namely
carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons and nitrogen dioxide for different vehicles like two
wheelers, three wheelers, cars/jeeps and four wheelers/diesel vehicles in Amritsar.

2. Methodology

For the study of air quality impact of different types of vehicles the following
methodology is used:
i. Collection of data for total registered vehicles form 2004-05 to 2008-09 from
District Transport Department, Amritsar.
ii. Categorizing data in vehicle types.
iii. Calculation of total fuel consumed by different categories of vehicles annually.
iv. Estimating the pollution contribution of different pollutants like CO, HC and NOX
annually.
v. Graphical representation of different types of vehicles for the pollution
contribution annually.
vi. Comparing the percentage contribution to pollution from 2004-05 to 2008-09.

2.1. Data Collection

The data for total number of registered vehicles from 2004-05 to 2008-09 is
obtained from District Transport Department, Amritsar as given in following Table 2.1:

Table 2.1: Total number of registered vehicles from 2004-05 to 2008-09

S. No. Vehicles Year

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09

1 Two Wheelers 26401 28945 26092 24215 21252

2 Cars/Jeeps 5060 5307 6243 5962 6249

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3 Tractors/Trailers 382 396 468 633 588

4 Other Vehicles 2 1 48 27 2

5 Three Wheelers 633 958 951 930 918

6 LTV 435 300 467 418 383

7 HTV 37 43 121 150 177

8 HTV 216 207 425 447 418

9 Govt. Vehicles 18 6 29 20 7

10 Buses/Mini Buses 100 41 82 90 87

Source: District Transport Office, Amritsar (2009).

2.2. Categorizing data

The data for registered vehicles is categorized into four types on the basis of
emission characteristics

Table 2.2: Emission characteristics of vehicles

S. No. Type CO (g/l) HC (g/l) NOX (g/l)

1 Cars/Jeeps 240 31 16

2 Scooter/Motor Cycle 304 215 1.8

3 Three Wheelers 257 161 1.8

4 Four Wheelers/Diesel 19 8 37

Source: Parvez, (2002).

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The vehicles are categorized as follows:

Table 2.3: Registered vehicles from 2004-05 to 2008-09

S. No. Vehicles Year

2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-8 2008-09

1 Cars/Jeeps 5062 5308 6291 5989 6251

2 Scooter/Motor Cycle 26401 28945 26092 24215 21252

3 Three Wheelers 633 958 951 930 918

4 Four Wheelers/Diesel 1188 993 1592 1758 1660

Source: District Transport Office, Amritsar (2009).

2.3. Annual fuel consumption

The annual mileage of different vehicles given is in Table 2.4. The approximate annual
fuel consumption of vehicles is obtained as:

Annual fuel consumed (litres)/vehicle = Annual Mileage (km) ÷ Average Mileage/litre


of fuel consumed (kms/litre).

This is obtained as under:

i. Cars/Jeeps

Annual fuel consumed/vehicle =15000 (km) ÷16 (km/l) =937.5 liters

ii. Scooter/Motorcycle

Annual fuel consumed/vehicle = 10000 (km) ÷35 (km/l) =285.7 liters

iii. Three Wheelers

Annual fuel consumed/vehicle = 40000 (km) ÷10 (km/l) =4000 liters

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iv. Four Wheelers/Diesel

Annual fuel consumed/vehicle = 60000 (km) ÷4 (km/l) =15000 liters

Table 2.4: Annual mileage (km) for different categories of Vehicles

S. No. Vehicle Types Annual Mileage (km)

1 2 Wheelers 10,000

2 3 Wheelers 40,000

3 Passenger Cars 15,000

4 Taxis 30,000

5 Multi Utility Vehicles 37,000

6 Light Commercial Vehicles 40,000

7 Trucks 30,000

8 Buses 60,000

Source: Transport fuel quality for year 2005, CPCB, MoEF

2.4. Annual emission of pollutants

The annual emission of pollutants (tonnes/year) (CO, HC and NOX) is obtained


as:

Number of registered vehicles/year × annual fuel consumed (litres)/vehicle × emission


characteristics of that vehicle (g/litre) / 1,000,000

Variable emission of different pollutants for different categories of vehicle is


obtained for 2004-05 to 2008-09 on yearly basis.

2.5. Graphical representation

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Bar graphs are plotted to compare the pollution impact of different type of
vehicles for pollutant emission annually against the years.

2.6. Percentage contribution

The percentage contribution of different type of vehicles is plotted as pie graph


over five year (2004-05 to 2008-09) to compare the pollution impact.

3. Results and Discussions

3.1. Year wise Trend of Pollutant Emission from 2004 to 2009:

The year wise pollutant (CO, HC and NOX) emission patterns of different types of
vehicles have been plotted revealing following observations.

 CO emission pattern among different vehicle types: The CO emission patterns


have been plotted in fig. 3.1. The observed peaks in figure reveal that CO
emission is highest from two wheelers and the highest emission of
2513.954tonnes/year is observed in two-wheelers in 2005-06.

3000
CO emission (tonnes/year)

2500
2000 Cars/Jeeps
Scooter/Motor Cycle
1500
Three Wheelers
1000 Four Wheelers/Diesel
500
0
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Years

Fig. 3.1: Graphical representation of year wise annual CO emission

 HC emission pattern among different vehicle types: The emission patterns of HC


have been plotted in fig. 3.2. The observed high peaks reveal the trend of
emission, with two wheelers having the highest emission of 1777.961tonnes/year
in 2005-06.

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2000

HC emission (tonnes/year)
1800
1600
1400 Cars/Jeeps
1200
Scooter/Motor Cycle
1000
800 Three Wheelers
600 Four Wheelers/Diesel
400
200
0
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Years

Fig. 3.2: Graphical representation of year wise annual HC emission

 NOX emission pattern among different vehicle types: The emission patterns of
NOX have been plotted in fig. 3.3. The observed repeated peaks within each year
reveal that NOX emission is enormously high from four wheeler/diesel vehicles.

1200

1000
NOx emission (tonnes/year)

800

Cars/Jeeps
Scooter/Motor Cycle
600
Three Wheelers
Four Wheelers/Diesel

400

200

0
2004-05 2005-06 2006-07 2007-08 2008-09
Years

Fig. 3.3: Graphical representation of year wise annual NOX emission

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3.2. Percentage Contribution of Pollutants from Vehicles during 2004 to 2009:

The percentage contribution made by each type of vehicle category is shown in figs.
3.4, 3.5 and 3.6. The following observations can be drawn from the figures:

 Cars/jeeps contribute 22%, 5% and 41% of total emission of CO, HC and NOX
respectively.

 Two-wheelers contribute 49%, 65% and 8% of total emission of CO, HC and


NOX respectively.

 Three-wheelers contribute 20%, 23% and 4% of total emission of CO, HC and


NOX respectively.

 Four-wheelers/diesel contributes 9%, 7% and 47% of total emission of CO, HC


and NOX respectively.

Percentage of CO Emission

9%
22%

20% Cars/Jeeps
Scooter/Motor Cycle
Three Wheelers
Four Wheelers/Diesel

49%

Fig. 3.4: Percentage CO contribution of vehicles from 2004 to 2009

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Percentage of HC Emission

7% 5%

23% Cars/Jeeps
Scooter/Motor Cycle
Three Wheelers
Four Wheelers/Diesel

65%

Fig. 3.5: Percentage HC contribution of vehicles from 2004 to 2009

Percentage of NOx Emission

41% Cars/Jeeps
47% Scooter/Motor Cycle
Three Wheelers
Four Wheelers/Diesel

4% 8%

Fig. 3.6: Percentage NOX contribution of vehicles from 2004 to 2009

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3.3. Comparison of Pollutant Emission among Vehicle during 2004 to 2009:

Fig. 3.7 shows the pattern of comparison of pollutant emission, to reveal the
pollutant load impact on air quality. The observed peaks clearly reveal that the total
pollution load on the city per year for CO is 4,534.33 tonnes/year, for HC is 2,428.45
tonnes/year and for NOX is 167.02 tonnes/year the two-wheelers substantially cause
impact on air quality emitting heavy load of CO and HC having emission of 2,204.41
tonnes/year and 1,559.04 tonnes/year respectively. The observed figure 3.7 reveals that
even though NOX emission is high from four-wheeler/diesel vehicles having 67.83
tonnes/year emission but still comparative impact of NOX is very low with respect to CO
and HC emission from two-wheelers.

12000

10000
Pollutant (tonnes)

8000
CO
6000 HC
NOx
4000

2000

0
Cars/Jeeps Scooter/Motor Three Wheelers Four
Cycle Wheelers/Diesel
Vehicle Type

Fig. 3.7: Graphical representation of pollutants impact during 2004 to 2009

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4. Conclusion

The results of the study show that the total pollution load on the city per year for
CO is 4,534.33 tonnes/year, for HC is 2,428.45 tonnes/year and for NOX is 167.02
tonnes/year. CO and HC emissions due to two-wheelers were enormously high, that is
2,204.41 tonnes/year and 1,559.04 tonnes/year respectively. NOX emission due to four-
wheelers/diesel vehicles is 67.83 tonnes/year, which is low as compared to the CO and
HC emissions. Therefore two-wheelers contribute maximum amount of emission of CO
(49%) and HC (65%), among all the vehicles, thus revealing a high pollution load on the
city. In two-wheelers two-stroke engines burn an oil–gasoline mixture therefore they emit
more smoke, carbon monoxide, hydrocarbons, and particulate matter than the gas-only
four-stroke engines. To make matter worse, the vehicles are seen carrying more number
of passengers than their designated limit. Three-wheelers top the list by carrying double
and sometime triple the designated load and in addition burn kerosene oil instead of
diesel and petrol. The vehicle is not designed for extra weight and thus the engine burns
even dirtier. Though, it is justified to say that pollutants are increasing due to the increase
in the number of vehicles. But it may be attributed to the relaxed attitude of controlling
authorities, if not laws alone. When a vehicle is manufactured it needs emission
standards, but once out on the road the actual emission of the vehicle is expected to
deteriorate every year by a certain percent. So one can clearly understand that use of old
vehicles contribute to pollution more than new ones. Therefore for the efficient control of
vehicular pollution, where laws and authorities concerned should function in an efficient
way, the responsibility of an individual or a common citizen cannot be over looked. Thus
dealing with the problem of vehicular pollution, awareness among common citizen and
strict implementation of laws by authority, may prove to be an effective measure.

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