SUBJECT : It is still a long road ahead for eco friendly fly ash bricks

Nashik, May 23rd: A large number of constructions across the city continue to use traditional red clay bricks instead of their eco-friendly counterparts - fly ash bricks.

This, despite the notification by the Ministry of Environment and Forests (MOEF) issued in 2009, which makes it mandatory to use fly ash in construction activities within a radius of 100 kilometres of the thermal power station.
Environment activists, who have been witnessing a rampant disregard for the notification by construction companies, feel that government agencies have failed to monitor the discrepancies.
A case was also filed in this regard in 2013 at the National Green Tribunal, Western Zone (Pune), by Sunil Mendhekar, who pleaded to the court to ban red bricks completely and strictly implement the MOEF notification in totality.
In its notification, the MOEF had instructed that 100% fly ash produced by industries should be utilised for making bricks; and 20% of it should be given free of cost to brick manufacturers by small scale industries producing fly ash and the remaining 80% should be sold. However, since 2000, the manufacturers were not being given fly ash and hence the case was registered.
"We noticed that constructions in a number of places across the city - opposite the zilla parishad office, opposite Cambridge School in Indiranagar and near Bhujbal Farm - clay bricks were being used instead of fly ash," said Jagbir Singh, an activist.
A group of environment activists met and handed over a letter to the municipal commissioner on May 5 requesting him to implement the use of fly ash bricks, asper the government notification.
"Fly ash is eco-friendly, while red clay bricks absorb a lot of water," said Bharati Jadhav, another environment activist.
"A government resolution (GR) of 2009 mentions the use of fly ash bricks as mandatory. This was enforced in 2010-2011. The building commencement certificate has to mention the use of fly ash bricks, along with other things like rainwater harvesting and planting trees," said Mendhekar.

"In 2015, the NGT had ordered that fly ash bricks should be used. The Nashik Municipal Corporation (NMC) or the Maharashtra Pollution Control Board (MPCB) should monitor its usage. Since the orders were not being followed, I filed a contempt petition and the court, in turn, asked for strict implementation of the ruling," Mendhekar said.

He further said that builders and contractors should only use fly ash bricks as they are sturdier and help maintain the balance of the environment.

Last February, environment activists noticed red clay bricks being used in a number of constructions in the city, including the Goda Park, the district collectorate as well as the district industries centre. When the issue was brought to the notice of the city engineer, he assured that from then on, only fly ash bricks would be used.

Municipal commissioner Praveen Gedam said, "I will have to talk to the town planning department and check the matter."


Source: Times of India