Srinagar, Mar 16: During last few decades demand for burnt bricks for construction purposes have considerably increased on account of construction boom in the Kashmir Valley. Due to increase in per capita income and the urge to build palatial houses and change in construction patterns, the valleyites have replaced traditional mud bricks with burnt bricks. All this has led to rampant growth of brick kilns without an effective check and balance system from the concerned authorities. Thus, the pollution level has considerably grown up in the valley of Kashmir.
Brick kilns are posing great challenge to the environment and agriculture sector of Kashmir. Worst hit by the rampant growth of brick kilns in Kashmir are Budgam and Anantnag Districts.
However, on ground zero, the closure orders are being blatantly ignored and the brick kilns continue to operate. All this comes at a time when about more than 500 vehicles are added on roads every day.
Mushtaq Ahmad, a commoner of Anantnag district said, “The ever increasing number of illegal brick kilns is ruining the beauty of Kashmir Valley. The brick kilns are being run on or near agricultural land and this has greatly squeezed our potential for growing paddy and other agricultural products. We need to remember that brick kilns are also among the major emitters of black carbon and therefore a great source of health hazards”.
Expert estimates say that, if an average kiln burns 15 tons of fuel a year, meaning together they all burn around 5,000 tons of fuel. What concerns the campaigners most in the valley of Kashmir is the reality that the lowest quality of coal and rubber tyres are being burnt in these kilns, to save fuel costs.
The voices on ground call upon the authorities to act swiftly in order to control the menacing growth of brick kilns in Kashmir. (KNB)