PPCB ban order set aside, breather for brick-kilns

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Chandigarh, October 10: The appellate authority-cum-Principal Secretary, Department of Science and Technology and Environment, has set aside an order of the Punjab Pollution Control Board (PPCB), under which about 3,000 brick-kilns in the state had been directed to discontinue operations from October to January.

The Punjab Brick-Kiln Owners’ Association had moved the appellate authority against the order. The Punjab Pollution Control Board had cited air pollution during winter due to various sources, including emissions from kilns. As per the directions of the National Green Tribunal (NGT), the board had asked kilns to install the “zig-zag” technology to ensure uniform distribution of heat, which reduces emissions.

The appellate authority, Rakesh Verma, in an order issued on October 1, said the NGT had not ordered a blanket ban on the operations of brick-kilns during any part of the year and had only directed implementation of its guidelines issued on December 18, 2017.

Verma said the PPCB had not specified any objective, quantifiable measure for evaluating the impact of the NGT directions, adding that there were multiple sources of air pollution and the board had not laid down any mechanism to assess the role of brick-kilns.