The National Green Tribunal has called for real time data from different locations of the National Capital Region (NCR), for it to consider allowing operation of brick klins, which use zig zag technology and in areas where air quality is within the norms and there is carrying capacity.
A bench led by Chairperson Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel held that there was no merit in the argument raised by the brick klins owners that "Only in 'severe' conditions brick kilns can be prohibited."
The tribunal called for data from the Central Pollution Control Board, to answer the question about where quality is within the norms and there is carrying capacity, can brick kiln be allowed. The tribunal said "Since such data is maintained by the CPCB/PCBs, the CPCB may collect such data for corresponding months of March, April, May and June in the year 2019 and furnish the same before the next date. The break-up of location of the brick kilns District-wise may also be furnished to consider as to which of the brick kilns can be allowed after verification that such brick kilns are actually working on 'Zig-Zag' technology."
As per statistics made available, in regard to NCR regions, out of 2187, 2216 and 251 brick kilns in
Haryana, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab respectively, 1504, 1032 and 127 brick kilns have been converted to Zig-Zag technology, which use agro-residues. Looking, into the forecast of favourable meteorological conditions and expected improvement in the air quality, Environmental Pollution Control Authority (EPCA), directed allowing the operation of those brick kilns in NCR districts, which have converted to Zig-zag technology.
According to the applicant Utkarsh Panwar, even brick kilns run by 'Zig-Zag' technology, add to PM 2.5 and contribute about 10% of the air pollution in the NCR. Since, the air pollution levels in NCR were beyond norms, brick klins were prohibited from operating in NCR, till the air quality improves. This claim was further supported by the CPCB.
Counsel for the CPCB submitted that having regard to the data of air quality, brick kilns are to be mandatorily shut throughout NCR only under 'severe conditions', no polluting activity, including brick kilns, can be permitted beyond 'carrying capacity' and air quality norms under the Air (Prevention and Control of Pollution) Act, 1981. On the other hand, the brick kilns, argued that unless the conditions are 'severe' to attract GRAP and unless prohibited by EPCA, 'Zig-Zag' technology brick kilns have right to operate irrespective of the air quality norms.
The tribunal has now posted the matter for further hearing on March 17