Order of the National Green Tribunal regarding coal fired brick kilns using zig zag technology in NCR, 17/02/2021

  • 17/02/2021

Order of the National Green Tribunal in the matter of Utkarsh Panwar Vs Central Pollution Control Board & Others dated 17/02/2021.

Question for consideration is extending applicability of Graded Response Action Plan (GRAP), already applicable to Fixed Chimney Bull Trench Kilns (FCBTK), to other coal fired brick kilns, including those using ‘Zig-Zag’ technology in NCR during the period the air quality is ‘severe’, having potential for adverse health effects.

The Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) report showed that in severe air quality condition, coal fired brick kilns using zig zag technology were not sustainable in view of carrying capacity of the region. Only from March to June, limited number of brick kilns operated by zig zag technology could be permitted.

The NGT noted that while monitoring must certainly improve - pollution load by coal-fired brick kilns would not reach zero so as to sustain coal-fired brick kilns in NCR in severe air quality conditions. In such situation, potential damage to public health cannot be ignored, while dealing with the issue of activity having potential for pollution, in the area having no carrying capacity to sustain further pollution load, the NGT order of February 17, 2021 said.

The court reiterated that in ‘severe’ air quality conditions, coal-fired brick kilns should not be allowed to operate in NCR even if zig zag technology was used and improved procedures are followed, unless there is switch over to the PNG.

The bench of Justice Adarsh Kumar Goel and Justice Sheo Kumar Singh directed that unless there was change to cleaner fuel (PNG), brick kilns beyond a certain number must not be allowed, in the NCR.