The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has issued notices to Union environment ministry and the governments of the states of Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Rajasthan and Delhi over illegal operation of brick kilns in these four states. A Delhi-based environmentalist had filed a petition saying that kilns in these states are operating without complying with pollution norms and causing immense air and water pollution. The petitioner had listed seven districts of Uttar Pradesh, including Ghaziabad and Gautam Budh Nagar, Baghpat, Meerut, Hapur and Muzaffarnagar, 13 districts of Haryana, including Gurgaon, and two districts (Alwar and Bharatpur) of Rajasthan, besides Delhi in the petition.
NGT has also directed the state pollution control board of each of the four states to inspect all brickfields mentioned in the petition to find out if they are complying with the environmental norms.
Kilns operating in the NCR region had become a major issue last year when the air pollution in Delhi and surrounding areas had reached dangerous levels. State governments had ordered closure of most of these kilns and had asked them to employ environment friendly technology in brick making.
Traditionally, most of the brick makers use Fixed Chimney Bulls Trench Kiln which is a continuous, moving fire kiln operated under a natural-draught provided by a fixed chimney. FCBTK technology suffers from incomplete combustion of fuel, indicated by high CO concentration in flue gas (PPM range), black smoke, and unburnt coal deposition at the floor of the kiln. The zigzag kiln, on the other hand, is an improved version of the FCBTK. The main innovation is in the arrangement of bricks. In a Zigzag kiln, the bricks are arranged in such a way that the air is forced to follow a zigzag path. Lower energy consumption, better environment performance and superior quality of bricks are some of the advantages of using zigzag kiln technology.