Updated: September 30, 2021 9:56:24 pm
The Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB) asked establishments, shops and industries using diesel generator (DG) sets of 125 KVA capacity and above to retrofit them with emission-control devices or shift to gas-based generators.
The move comes after the National Clean Air Programme (NCAP) and the National Green Tribunal (NGT) identified diesel generator sets as the major source of emission of particulate matter.
The order has to be complied with in 120 days from the date of issuance (September 17). The retrofitting device should have a minimum specified particulate matter capturing efficiency of at least 70 per cent.
The emission control device should be ISO marked and approved by the Central or State Pollution Control Boards, Automotive Research Association of India, International Centre for Automotive Technology and Indian Oil Corporation’s Research and Development Centre.
The NCAP in its report stated DG sets contribute to 18 per cent of the pollution in non-attainment cities including Bengaluru, Gulbarga, Devanagere and Hubli-Dharwad from Karnataka.
A senior official from the board said in the 2019 study of KSPCB, it was found that DG sets contribute around 7-8 per cent to the pollution in Bengaluru. However, the board failed to identify the number of DG sets operational in the state and the companies which will retrofit the sets.
“However, with the improvement of power supply, the usage of DG sets has come down in Bengaluru. Small establishments have switched to inverters,” the official said.
The non-attainment cities are required to submit an action plan to reduce air pollution levels in 2024 by at least 20 per cent.
“We will begin the study to identify the number of DG sets. As far as Bengaluru is concerned, the usage of DG sets is not high since the power supply is good. Moreover, the usage of DG sets is not economical since it will cost Rs 18 per kWh along with additional charges of diesel. However, IT companies and big establishments use this for backup,” said KSPCB Senior Environment Officer Syed Khaja.
An official from a DG retrofitting company based out of Bengaluru said that for a 500 KVA DG set, the retrofitting will cost Rs 10 lakh. “In this, a device equipment can be fitted in the silencer of the generator to reduce the exhaust emission and particulate matter or the diesel engine can be converted to a gas engine,” he added.
“We have not identified the number of DG sets being used in the state. The number runs in thousands and we cannot tell the exact figure. The order will not target those establishments that use 30 or 40 KVA generators. We have not identified the private establishments which are into retrofitting DG sets,” KSPCB member secretary Srinavalusu K said.
Environment consultant Mahesh Kashyap suggested shifting to solar energy should be the most-preferred thing as even gas generators emit particles.
Earlier this year, the KSPCB had ordered that DG sets installed by hotel establishments should have acoustic enclosures and proper chimneys.
Suresh Hari, Chairman, Confederation of the Real Estate Developers’ Associations of India (CREDAI), Bengaluru, welcomed the move and said, “Environmental issues are affecting every citizen. The order to retrofit or alternate approaches is a welcome move. There will certainly be a cost factor but the time frame of six months needs and compliance according to the standards of the five labs need to be adhered to. Government can enable faster compliance if labs are made to process applications within a given time frame.”
In the Union Budget for 2020-2021, Karnataka received Rs 10 crore to tackle Bengaluru’s air pollution.
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