Societies in Gurugram, where diesel generator (DG) sets were operated for several hours a day, had 30 per cent higher PM2.5 and PM10 levels, compared to the levels before the usage of DG sets, says a study by the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE). The report revealed that solar rooftops (SRTs) are clean and cheaper alternatives to highly polluting DG sets. “Per unit cost of electricity generated by DG is Rs 35 per unit (inclusive of the cost of the DG set), while SRT costs less than Rs six per unit,” the study said.
“When DG usage exceeded eight hours, the PM levels were persistently high throughout the day. On an average, PM2.5 and PM10 levels were 130 and 300, while peak PM2.5 and PM10 levels were 300 and 1,900, respectively,” it said. Findings from another CSE research said pollution in residential societies from DG sets, shows that they are widely used for power back-up during electricity cuts, causing a huge spike in air pollution levels in the local surroundings.
Chandra Bhushan, deputy director general, CSE said, “Diesel generator use in societies is causing an alarming increase in pollution levels, with spikes of up to 15 times the safe levels.”
The report further highlighted poor compliance with a 2016 HAREDA order, which mandated the installation of SRT by large industrial, commercial and institutional consumers. However, less than five per cent of the 6,200 entities that were required to install rooftop solar systems have complied. The CSE’s research found that most agencies such as HUDA, HSIIDC and the Town and Country Planning, have not incorporated the rooftop mandate into their regulations.