Shape up or ship out

Pollution control board sets November deadline for brick kiln manufacturers to clean up their act

Published: Tuesday 15 October 2002

-- (Credit: Amar Talwar / CSE)the Central Pollution Control Board (cpcb) has recently directed all state pollution control boards (spcbs) to crack down on brick kilns not adhering to emission norms notified by the Union ministry of environment and forests (mef). Though the brick manufacturing units were given time till June 30, 2002, to comply with the 1996 norms, majority of them continue to flout the prescribed standards. "We have directed all spcbs to close down brick kilns found flouting rules after November 1, 2002," says R N Jindal, senior environmental engineer, cpcb.

As per the 1996 notification, kilns are divided into three categories based on the amount of bricks they manufacture. Small kilns (manufacturing less than 15,000 bricks per day), medium kilns (15,000-30,000 bricks per day), and large kilns (more than 30,000 bricks per day). Emission of particulate matter for the first category of kilns is 1,000 milligrammes per normal metre cube (mg/ nm<>) and for the other two categories is 750 mg/ nm3.

In a country, which has close to 0.1 million brick kilns, enforcement of these norms will be a gargantuan task. The authorities are, however, confident of implementing them. "I do not think monitoring will be a problem," says K Sanjeevi, member secretary, Tamil Nadu Pollution Control Board.

The cpcb has advised the brick manufacturing units to shift from the redundant technology of moving bull's trench kilns (btk) to other designs such as fixed chimney btk and vertical shaft kilns, which are less polluting. But R K Verma, spokesperson, All-India Brick and Tile Manufacturers Federation, says that the government is not providing any loans to them. "Many small-scale kilns have not been able to change their chimney design because they do not have money to install new iron or steel chimneys," adds Verma.

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