Two sources of air pollution in the National Capital Region — thermal power plants and brick kilns — could continue to pollute despite regulations and some action, the Centre for Science and Environment (CSE) said on Thursday.
Releasing a report on the condition of brick kilns’ conversion to cleaner technology and on thermal power plants’ plans to adhere to stricter emission norms by the December 2019 deadline, CSE said in a statement that the two sectors were falling short.
The brick kilns’ conversion to cleaner technology had been poor and most thermal power plants did not have a plan to meet the emission norms announced by the Centre in 2015, CSE said.
On brick kilns, CSE said the Delhi-National Capital Region area had over 3,000 legal brick kilns that mostly used the “extremely polluting” fixed chimney bull’s trench kiln (FCBTK) system. Following orders from the Environment Pollution (Prevention & Control) Authority (EPCA), CSE said the brick kilns had agreed to convert to the cleaner zigzag process.
“However, a new CSE assessment reveals that more than half of the kilns have not converted to the zigzag technology efficiently, thereby negating any gains that might have accrued from them in Delhi’s fight against bad air,” the statement read.
In its report, CSE analysed the quality of the conversion to zigzag technology of 63 kilns spread over 13 districts in the NCR.
Emissions of seven kilns
It also studied the emissions of seven kilns — six that had adopted zigzag technology and one that used the FCBTK system.
CSE said about 1,000 kilns had converted to zigzag technology and 1,500 had given affidavits to the EPCA that they would convert by October 2018.
“The conversion to zigzag is leading to real reductions in emissions. If the conversion quality is good, the emissions reduction can be as much as 50% to 70%.
However, only about 20% of the surveyed kilns had done good conversion,” CSE said.
CSE deputy director-general Chandra Bhushan said: “Delhi-NCR’s comprehensive clean air action plan is floundering because of the apathy of regulatory agencies. Our survey of brick kilns and thermal power plants shows that despite regulations and intervention of the Supreme Court and the EPCA, the implementation on the ground is highly compromised.”