Commotion prevailed at Chinnathadagam panchayat on Friday when the villagers detained two trucks carrying cashew husk to brick kilns. It was in protest against the burning of cashew husk in kilns since it causes air pollution.
Chinnathadagam, Anaikatti, Nanjundapuram, Veerapandipudur, Kanuvai and Kalaiyanur areas have more than 300 brick kilns that turn out more than 1,500 loads of bricks every day. Conventionally, brick kilns used Karuvelam (Prosopis juliflora) wood to fire the kilns. With the cost of karuvelam wood proving to be high because of the cost of transportation, the brick kilns largely rely on use of palm tree branches and cashew husk which are relatively cost effective.
Since palm tree branches lure pachyderms, brick kiln owners opted for cashew husk. But burning cashew husk produces lots of ashes, and cause air pollution. Residents complained that the brick kiln owners either lived far away from Chinna Thadagam or in air-conditioned rooms, hence they were not aware of the pollution caused by the use of cashew husk as fuel.
On February 21, 2014, citing an assurance by the brick kilns to bring down the use of cashew husk in a gradual manner, the Chinnathadagam Panchayat passed a resolution for stopping the same. Even after a month, entry of cashew husk into brick kilns continued.
The villagers intercepted the two trucks at a weigh bridge, and took it to revenue office. After talks with the villagers and elected representatives, the officials warned the truck drivers and released the vehicles.