Monday, April 28, 2008

Biggest pollutor

Last week there was a panel discussion titled "Who gets the fuel? Us or them?" at the Collin County Community College. This panel discussion was conceived and organised as part of the college's "Earth Day" celebrations. There were different activities in the college all related to environment in some way or the other. There were stalls of Animal Shelters, Electricity Companies, Eco-friendly tattoos, a flute recital etc.

The panel discussion was the grand finale of the event. When I came to know about the discussion couple of weeks ago I felt both outraged and hurt. These people are accusing India of competing with them for fuel. I am pretty sure that more than half of Americans have never been to India and would never visit our country at all. They have so little knowledge about the country but they want to point fingers. Hence I did some research about petroleum consumption and after carefully making notes I went to the discussion to make my point.

The panel comprising of four students of the college was moderated by faculty members from the Geology, Chemistry and Sociology departments. The discussion started with a presentation by the faculty members about how it would be a catastrophe if India's major car manufacturers Tata Motors released their newest car Tata Nano (650 cc) into the market. They expressed fears over millions of Indians buying the small car which would result in increased fuel consumption, carbon dioxide emissions and pollution. One of the ideas put forth by the faculty was that "Should America exert pressure on India to ban production of the Nano Car?"

As I sat through the presentation I didn't know whether to laugh or to wring my hands in despair. They presented comparative facts about India and America which were packaged to portray as if India was a potential world polluter.

In my opinion the title of panel discussion is a big farce. It is the same as a huge elephant saying that it is not finding enough food because the little rabbit ate it all and so the rabbit should be banished from the forest.

After the panelists had had their say the audience was given a chance to speak. Though I was one of the first to raise my hand, my chance came last after all the others had had their say. Last but definitely not the least, here are some of the facts that I presented. At the end of my talk the panel, moderator and other faculty were apolegetic about some of their statements and said so.

Population Vs fuel consumption
America accounts for a mere 5 percent (300 million) of the world's population, but consumes an unfair amount of the world's total fuel production. 44 percent. On the other hand India accounts to 20 percent of the world's population (5 times America's population) and consumes only 4 percent of the world's production of fuel.

Number of Cars and other vehicles
American has over 270 million passeger cars and trucks, 12.9 million recreational boats and 6.2 million motorcycles. (833.34 cars per 1,000 people)

India has only 9.17 million passenger vehicles vehicles, a few hundred recreational boats and 7 million motorcycles. (7 cars per 1,000 people)

Average Cars
The average car in America is at least 3,000 cc and runs on a V-6 engine (6 cylinder)
The average Indian car (Maruti 800) runs on a 800 cc, 3 cylinder engine.

Average Fuel efficiency
America's vehicles return an average fuel efficiency of 17.1 miles per gallon.
Indian cars return an average fuel efficiency of 35.65 miles per gallon.

Fuel consumption
America consumes over 92,53,000 barrels per day (388.6 million gallons per day)
India consumes only 38.8 million gallons a day.

Most Fuel Efficient car in America
Toyota Prius - powered by two engines churning out a mammoth 145 horsepower, this car returns a fuel efficiency of 46 miles per gallon.

Most Fuel Efficient Car in India
Tata Nano - powered by a small 650 cc engine, churns out a decent 30 horsepower and returns a superb 54 miles per gallon.

Greenhouse Gas emission
America - 1,559 metric tonnes
India - 250 metric tonnes

Here is the biggest punch. Everyone in the world says India is a dirty country. But who generates most trash in the world? It is the world's self-appointed policeman and big brother AMERICA.

Per capita Garbage/ solid waste generated per year
US - 230 million tons (about 4.5 pounds per person per day)
India - 18 million tons of trash. If we were to calculate the amount of solid wastes generated by individuals in India it would be abysmally low.

I am really glad I attended the panel discussion and made people aware of the reality. Perhaps it will lead them to think about the future of the world and probably one of them may decide to buy a smaller car

Source: MSN