Clearing the air: The government hopes the new norms will reduce air pollution from brick kilns. Photo:

New norms set technology and fuel standards for brick kilns

The central government released new norms for brick kilns after seven years of deliberations, which allow brick kilns to use only zig-zag technology or vertical shaft or use of piped natural gas (PNG) as fuel in the brick-making process. Brick kilns have been identified as a major source of air pollution in many non-attainment cities, DTE reported. The new notification sets the standard for PM emissions at 250 milligram per normal cubic metre (mg / Nm3). 

Approved fuel includes PNG, coal, fire wood and/or agricultural residues. Use of pet coke, tyres, plastic, hazardous waste is not allowed. There shall be a permanent facility for port hole and platform as per the Central Pollution Control Board (CPCB) norms. Brick kilns shall follow fugitive dust emission control state guidelines and owners shall ensure that the roads utilised for transporting raw material or bricks are paved.

Air quality commission shut 392 units over non-compliance since Dec 2021

India’s Commission for Air Quality Management in NCR and Adjoining Areas (CAQM) inspected 4,800 sites since December 2021, and issued closure notices to 407 sites out. Of these, 392 sites have been confirmed to be shut, Outlookindia reported. Of the total closures, 264 are industries, 99 construction and demolition (C&D) sites and 44 are DG Sets. Of the 407 closure notices issued, 94 sites are in Delhi, 92 are in NCR of Haryana, 173 sites in UP and 48 sites are in the NCR Region of Rajasthan.

Air pollution, heat impairs cognitive ability, high impact in rural India, China: Study

According to a new study, polluted air and extreme heat impair the natural developmental processes that occur in the central nervous system throughout early childhood. The effect later affects cognitive ability, stated the research paper by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the intergovernmental agency originally formed to marshal American and Canadian aid. 

The study stated the impacts of high temperature are greater in the villages of China and India, specifically those who have not undertaken heat-resistant crops. In China and India, environmental exposures exacerbate cognitive losses partly via an income effect, which “overwhelmingly affects” poor agricultural households, the report said. 

Study: Early peaking of CO2 emissions in China could reduce over half a million air pollution deaths

A new study published in Nature estimated that carbon emissions in China are likely to peak ahead of 2030, and that an early peak before 2030 in line with the 1.5 °C target could avoid ~118,000 and ~614,000 PM2.5 attributable deaths under the Shared Socioeconomic Pathway 1, in 2030 and 2050, respectively. The study suggested that similar benefits may result from more ambitious climate targets in other countries. 

It added that under the 2°C target, carbon mitigation costs could be more than offset by health co-benefits in 2050, bringing a net benefit of $393–$3,017 billion (in 2017 USD value).

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