The National Green Tribunal (NGT) has asked authorities in Uttar Pradesh to keep a vigil against illegal operation of brick kilns to protect air quality in the National Capital Region. In an order on Thursday, the NGT also dismissed an application seeking permission to operate brick kilns.
“The authorities concerned in the state of UP may keep a vigil against illegal operation of brick kilns so as to protect the air quality in the NCR,” the NGT bench noted in the order.
The bench was hearing an application against alleged illegal operation of 600 brick kilns in UP’s Baghpat district.
Additional district magistrate of Ghaziabad had informed the tribunal in June that during the Covid lockdown, the UP chief secretary had issued directions to all district magistrates on March 29 to allow brick kilns to operate. On Thursday, the NGT bench noted, “Since there was an injunction issued by this Tribunal… the brick kiln activities could not have been allowed by an order of the Chief Secretary.”
It considered another report filed by Ghaziabad additional district magistrate in September that said brick kilns that were operating have been closed.
As per the Central Pollution Control Board data submitted to the NGT earlier this week, there are 4,635 brick kilns in the NCR, out of which 2,697 have converted to the zig-zag technology, which has less consumption of coal.
The Central Pollution Control Board had also informed the Tribunal in July that no area in the NCR has the carrying capacity to sustain brick kilns, even those using zig-zag technology, “unless there is change of technology and operating processes, including the staggered operational mechanism”.
A source apportionment study by The Energy and Resources Institute and the Automotive Research Association of India, published in August 2018, shows the brick kiln industry contributes 8% to the PM 2.5 in Delhi during winters. In summers, contribution to PM 2.5 by brick kilns is 5%.
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