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Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)

  • Vaid's ICS, Lucknow
  • 14, Feb 2022
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Why in News?

  •  As per a new Study, swapping fossil fuel-based vehicles with vehicles powered by cleaner fuels can decrease the emission of Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) by 76%.


  • The aim of the study was to document the effect of various pollutants contained in vehicle emissions and to find cleaner solutions for better air quality. It took into account various factors like the expected growth in the number of vehicles, per capita income and population growth.
  • The study concluded that VOC emissions could be decreased by swapping two and three-wheelers with electric vehicles, and heavy vehicles with CNG-powered vehicles.
  • Apart from VOCs, the researchers also said that a decrease in emissions can lower the amount of Black Carbon in the environment. Black Carbon not only causes health problems like respiratory and cardiovascular diseases, but it also contributes to climate change.

Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs):

About :

    • VOCs are carbon-containing chemicals that have both natural origin as well as anthropogenic origins. They include Benzene, Toluene, Ethylene, Xylene (combined called BTEX), Formaldehyde, Glycol, etc.
    • Natural: VOCs are produced by the plants for multiple reasons, including pollination, deterring pests as well as adapting to environmental stress.
    • Anthropogenic: VOCs are produced by Vehicles powered by petrol and diesel.

Effect of VOCs: 

Human Health: VOCs can irritate the eyes, nose and throat, and other body organs. Long exposure to VOCs can also increase the risk of cancer as they are carcinogenic in nature.

    • This is relevant in the context of air pollution-linked deaths, which amount to almost 1.67 million in 2019.

Secondary Pollutants: VOCs can lead to the formation of other secondary pollutants like ground-level ozone and PM2.5. Ozone at the ground level can increase the risk of asthma, cough and other breathing-related problems. Similarly, PM2.5 particles can also reach deep inside the human lungs.

Air Quality: Vehicular pollutants, including VOCs, account for 65-80% of vehicle emissions. Therefore, it is imperative to control emissions especially in a country like India, which is home to 14 out of the top 20 most polluted cities in the world and lost 1.36% of its GDP to air pollution-related deaths.

Facts for Prelims :

Exercise MILAN

  •  Exercise Milan is scheduled to be held from February 25 to March 4 for which 46 countries have been invited. 

More In News 

  • The Indian Navy is set to hold the 12th President’s Fleet Review (PFR) on February 21 at Visakhapatnam.

About Exercise Milan

  • It is a biennial, multilateral naval exercise which started in 1995.
  • It has so far been held at Port Blair in Andaman and Nicobar but is now being shifted to Visakhapatnam which offers more infrastructure as well as sea space for the exercise.
  • It has several themes such as anti-submarine warfare among others along with deliberations, including by subject matter experts.
  • The areas of cooperation of the exercise include capacity building, marine domain awareness, training, hydrography, technical assistance, and operational exercises.
  • During the exercise, the Navy will also be showcasing its Deep Submergence Rescue Vessel (DSRV) capabilities meant to rescue submarines in distress.
  • India is one of the few countries in the region which possesses this capability.
  • This year’s Milan will see the participation of all Quad countries, with the U.S. being invited for the first time.