Friday July 19, 2024

EPA imposes Rs51.550m fine to 15,110 brick kilns

By Ali Raza
June 21, 2024
This picture shows smoke billowing from a chimney as Pakistani labourers rest beside a brick kiln. — AFP/File
This picture shows smoke billowing from a chimney as Pakistani labourers rest beside a brick kiln. — AFP/File

LAHORE: The Environment Protection Agency (EPA) Punjab has imposed Rs51.550 million fine to 15,110 brick kilns across the province for not complying with zig-zag methodology.

Sources in EPA told The News that from April 2024 till date the EPA officials inspected 15,110 brick kilns across Punjab and got registered 560 (Istighasas) FIRs and 515 brick kilns were sealed for not implementing the zig-zag methodologies.

Total 94 brick kilns were flooded with water bowser for repeating violations and their brick stacks were demolished with the help of heavy machinery by EPA staff in coordination with district administrations.

“The real difference between the traditional Fixed Chimney Bulls Trench Kiln (FCBTK) and the zig-zag technology driven brick kiln is that in the former the placement of bricks is done in a straight pattern, whereas in the latter the bricks are placed in a zig-zag pattern. The zig-zag pattern allows to efficiently maneuvering the air for heating purposes,” an EPA official said.

“Furthermore, the black smoke that comes out of the traditional brick kiln is due to inefficient burning of fuel, whereas, the zig-zag setting of bricks and continuous feeding of small quantities of coal improves fuel efficiency. As a result, the emitted smoke from the kilns employing zig-zag technology is white colored and with significantly low air pollution levels,” the official said adding the induced-draught zig-zag kiln type also has a fan, which allows to control the air, thereby making the coal burning process even more efficient.

Sources in EPD, claimed that after the conversion of all brick kilns into zig-zag technology the brick kilns owners were involved in violation of zig-zag methodology compliance as they were not placing/stacking the bricks in zig zag pattern besides their blowers were also not operational during the time of inspection. After checking these violations in zig-zag brick kilns heavy fine has been imposed by the EPA Officials.

EPA Punjab sources said that out of over 15,000 brick kilns, 515 brick kilns were sealed and 94 brick kilns were flooded by water bowsers. They said 628 brick kilns were checked in Attock and imposed fine of Rs19,50,000, Bahawalnagar 312 brick kilns (fine Rs900,000),

Bahawalpur 759 brick kilns (fine Rs200,000), Bhakkar 712 brick kilns (Rs200,000), Chakwal 536 brick kilns (Rs400,000), Chiniot 164 brick kilns (Rs2100,000), Faisalabad 222 brick kilns (Rs4,900,000), Gujranwala 263 brick kilns (Rs1,000,000), Gujrat 274 brick kilns (Rs1,000,000), Hafizabad 293 brick kilns (Rs900,000), Jhang 844 brick kilns (Rs6,000,000), Jhelum 481 brick kilns (Rs700,000), Kasur 540 brick kilns (Rs1,900,000), Khanewal 438 brick kilns (Rs1,300,000), Khushab 420 brick kilns (Rs200,000), Lahore 154 brick kilns (Rs400,000), Layyah 386 brick kilns (Rs100,000), Lodhran 662 brick kilns (Rs200,000), Muzaffargarh 480 brick kilns (Rs300,000), Nankana Sahib 346 brick kilns (Rs900,000), Narowal 251 brick kilns (Rs2,100,000), Pakpattan 476 brick kilns (Rs3,000,000), Rahimyar Khan 392 brick kilns (Rs900,000), Rawalpindi 288 brick kilns (Rs4,800,000), Sahiwal 663 brick kilns (Rs7,800,000), Sheikhupura 299 brick kilns (Rs3,300,000), Sialkot 226 brick kilns (Rs2,200,000), Toba Tek Singh 223 brick kilns (Rs1,500,000) and Vehari 546 brick kilns with fine imposed Rs400,000.

Talking to The News, Director General EPA Punjab Imran Hamid Sheikh said that department was utilising all of its resources to control the violation in the brick kilns operations. He said that this time zero tolerance policy has been adopted and no brick kiln with old technology will be allowed to operate and the EPA staff now using water bowers for this purpose.

Imran Hamid further added that this year we will not wait for the upcoming smog season and anti-smog actions will remain continue round the year every month, every week and every day.

EPA DG said that repeated violators have been handed over to police after registration of FIRs against them and their operation will remain suspended until or unless they won’t shift to zig-zag methodology.