The Haryana State Pollution Control Board (HSPCB) has directed all district units to conduct surprise inspections at brick kilns to ensure that the production is carried out as per the notification issued by the environment ministry. Units found flouting the pollution norms will be shut down, it said.
The direction comes days after a Supreme Court bench in April passed a slew of directions for the operation of brick kilns in NCR. The top court had mandated the adoption of zigzag technology, vertical shaft or use of piped natural gas as fuel in brick kilns to keep air pollution in check in the region.
Brick kilns were also directed to use only approved fuel such as piped natural gas, coal, firewood and agricultural residues, while the use of pet coke, tyres, plastic, and hazardous waste has been prohibited.
“All districts shall conduct surprise inspections, without prior notice or warning to the persons running the brick kilns, from time to time to ensure that the production is being carried out in terms of the notification issued by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MoEF),” S Narayana, member secretary of HSPCB, said.
As per the MoEF&CC norms, issued on February 22, brick kilns are required to function with reduced particulate matter (PM) emission of 250 milligrams per normal cubic metre in place of the existing permitted levels of 750 milligrams per normal cubic metre.
According to the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) data, 2,163 brick kilns are operating in Haryana. Of them, 1,543 (71%) have converted to the zigzag technology while 620 others that were still using the old technology were shut down last year.
In zigzag kilns, bricks are arranged to allow hot air to travel in a zigzag path which results in better mixing of air and fuel, allowing complete combustion and reducing coal consumption by about 20%.