POLICY WATCH – National Green Aviation Policy  News: The government has set out a white paper on National Green Aviation Policy. Background

  • India is one of the fastest growing domestic aviation markets and is projected to become the world’s third largest air passenger market in 10 years.
  • Aviation accounts for 2% of the greenhouse gas emissions.
  • Aviation regulator DGCA would work with other government agencies for making bio-jet fuels commercially viable.
  • Besides, the watchdog would assess and understand emissions from all aviation-related sources, their contribution to the local air quality and their effect on compliance with local air quality regulations.
  • The ministry would create a “favourable regulatory regime for clearances of aviation projects such as new airports development and expansion”.
  • There would be a special provision and timelines that would be worked out in collaboration with central and state government bodies, the environment ministry, pollution control boards and the DGCA to speed up the developmental activities with due care environment sustainability.
  • DGCA will work with aviation stakeholders and other government authorities with a framework to adopt measures to reduce emissions in all areas — aircraft, ground support, airport infrastructure and landside access traffic.
  • Among others, airports would adopt a local air quality monitoring system and programs to monitoring the air quality around the airport.
  • All aviation stakeholders shall also explore the possibilities of use of bio-fuel and other alternative fuels with lower emissions for ground vehicle application.
  • The stakeholders would work closely with government agencies, local bodies for effective waste management around the airport to ensure reduced bird hazards and safe airport operation.
  • A centre of excellence for green aviation has also been proposed, that would focus on identifying environment-friendly solutions, research, competency and skill developments and aviation programmes, among others.
  • Proper waste management has also been proposed in the paper.
  • Indian aviation is at its nascent stage and is getting developed.
  • There is a requirement for new airports and new planes which would be environmentally friendly.
  • The new planes which are being developed are fuel efficient and a noise complaint.
  • The policy becomes significant as India is a part of CORSA scheme (Carbon Offset and Reduction Scheme) for international aviation.
  • India has undertaken a binding obligation to maintain carbon neutrality on the growth of the civil aviation sector.
  • The obligations become binding from 2027 onwards within which India has to comply with the norms.
What is green infrastructure in the aviation industry?
  • Green infrastructure includes using more environmentally friendly materials and reducing the energy footprint of the aviation industry.
  • The maintenance of the buildings should also be done in an environment-friendly manner.
  • Infrastructure should be resilient enough to meet climate change norms.
  • At the same time, it should be cost effective too.
How can green aviation be achieved?
  • Work has to be done at three levels
    • Airports – They are large consumers of energy.
    • Aircraft – The fuel emissions by aircraft contribute 95% of the emissions of the aviation sector.
    • Management systems which include the navigation system, support systems etc.
  • Energy efficiency is one of the important sectors upon which work has to be concentrated.
  • The energy includes that which the airports consume in both ground handling and support services, the buildings and large infrastructures and the manner in which operations take place.
  • Airports and roofs of buildings have large areas which can be used for the generation of solar energy.
  • Green taxing can also be adapted to reduce emissions. The emissions due to a person’s travel for a journey are calculated and the equivalent amount is compensated by planting trees which can offset the same amount.
How can noise be minimized in the aviation industry?
  • Admissible noise pollution levels have been indicated by the pollution control boards. They have to be enforced.
  • Efforts are being made to locate the airports away from human habitations though it has rarely been possible.
  • The flights can also adjust themselves to land at times which does not cause inconvenience.
  • The holding up of aircraft in metro cities like Bombay and Delhi causes pollution.
  • Biofuels are not commercially viable.
  • Even though biofuels are implemented, it will be only 20% of the aviation fuel while 80% of the fuels will still be dependent on fossil fuels.
  • Electrification of already existing airports would take time to be achieved
Way forward
  • To make biofuels commercially viable, investment should be done in R&D.
  • While it may take time, India should concentrate on other areas like airports, infrastructure etc to make them energy efficient.
  • Green ratings like LEED can be adopted for buildings.
  • The support services around airports can be electrified. The airport ecosystem can be built around solar energy.
  • A centre of excellence incorporating best practices from international countries should be set up which will serve as a base for others to adopt, implement and seek expert opinion.
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