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Electric vehicles can lower emissions of volatile organic compounds in India by 2030

  • Published
    11th Feb, 2022
Context

A new study predicts that India can slash emissions of volatile organic molecules (VOC) by 76% by 2030.

  • This can be done by swapping all two- and three-wheelers with electric vehicles and all diesel-fuelled ones with Compressed Natural Gas (CNG).
About

What are Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)?

  • Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) are a large group of carbon-based chemicals that easily evaporate at room temperature.
  • VOCs are both natural and Man-made:
  • VOCs can have a natural origin, too. Plants emit these chemicals to attract pollinators, defend themselves from pests and predators and adapt to environmental stress.
  • Man-made VOCs can be released by a number of products such as from burning gasoline or coal, glues, dry-cleaning products etc.
  • Volatile organic compounds can be found in household products or items commonly used in contemporary society. Some of their uses are:
  • paint thinners
  • degreasers
  • aerosol cans
  • dry-cleaning products
  • paints
  • photographic supplies
  • printers and photocopying machines and supplies

VOCs as a major pollutant in India:

  • Benzene, a chemical that induces cancer, is the only VOC included in the ambient air-quality standards.
  • VOCs can drive the formation of other dangerous pollutants. For instance, they react with sunlight and nitrogen dioxide to form ground-level ozone.
  • Ground-level ozone is a harmful pollutant that triggers health problems such as cough, difficulty breathing and increases the risk of infections. This pollutant can also aggravate asthma.
  • VOCs also trigger the formation of 5, a pollutant that reaches deep into the lungs, affecting their normal functioning. It is also linked to medical conditions such as asthma and heart disease.
  • VOCs react in the air to produce secondary organic aerosols, minute particles suspended in the air. The aerosols, in turn, form a large chunk of PM 2.5,

Need of E-mobility push:

  • India is home to 14 out of the top 20 most polluted cities globally. 
  • Around 1.67 million deaths were linked to air pollution in 2019.
  • The country lost 1.36 per cent of its gross domestic product the same year.
  • Gases escaping out of a vehicle’s exhaust account for 65-80 per cent of an automobile’s emissions.
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