On Saturday, the National Green Tribunal directed immediate action against illegal & unauthorised operational brick kilns in Shri Ganganagar city of Rajasthan while hearing a plea stating that a huge quantity of toxic elements from brick kilns cause serious health hazards in the region.
The petition said that the brick kilns emit toxic fumes containing suspended particulate matters rich in carbon particles & high concentration of carbon monoxides & oxides of sulphur (SOx) that are harmful to eye, lungs & throat. These air pollutants also stunt the mental & physical growth of children.
According to the data, the primary source of SOx in these areas is the brick manufacturing industry. The primary source of NOx (nitrogen oxides) pollutants is also the brick manufacturing industry.
The bench headed by Chairperson Adarsh Kumar Goel in an order passed on February 11 said, “We are of the opinion that further follow up action needs to be taken to prevent illegal operation of brick kilns and recovery of environmental compensation for the period of illegal operation, following due process of law.”
The Bench stated that “For those not having consents, closure can be immediately, particularly when show cause notice has already been given. For those having consents, it is necessary to verify whether they are meeting the prescribed pollution norms & siting norms. A joint Committee of Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB), State pollution control board & district magistrate of Ganga Nagar may look into these aspects & furnish a factual report within three months”.
“It is submitted that State Board has identified 594 brick kiln units in Sriganganagar district. Out of the identified units, 55 brick kilns are closed; 234 brick kiln are operating with valid consent to operate from the State Board; application of 80 brick kiln is under process with the State Board & out of the remaining 225 brick kiln, the State Board has issued show cause notice for intended closure to 217 brick kiln & closure directions to 08 brick kiln,” NGT noted the State Pollution Control Board report.
The plea, filed by Hakam Singh local resident of Shri Ganganagar & matter argued by Pushpinder Singh advocate, submitted that when 225 brick kilns are operating without any consent to operate, which is a matter of record, there is no need for show cause notice & on that pretext not closing such kilns amounts to permitting illegality.
In any case, the said reply was filed by the PCB more than one year back i.e. on Jan 30, 2020 & show cause notices were reportedly issued in the year 2019, still, the kilns are being allowed to operate illegally.
The petitioner further alleged that guidelines issued by the Rajasthan state pollution control board, Jaipur have not been complied with & there is no state policy with regard to the control of pollution by the brick kiln industries.