Not so green: environmental management practices in fly ash brick manufacturing units

With a rise in population and increase in constructional activities, the demand for building bricks is increasing daily. Fly ash lime building bricks are not only a substitute to clay-burnt building bricks, they are also considered a superior option. There has been a rise in the use of fly ash bricks over a past few decades, mostly due to government promotion. The Ministry of Environment and Forests issued a notification on 14 September 1999, which mandated mixing of 25 per cent fly ash in bricks prepared within a radius of 100 km from thermal power plants. Additionally, it has also made use of only fly ash-based products mandatory in any construction activity within a 100-km radius of thermal power plants. Subsequently, in 2016 an amendment in the above notification had increased the radius of the area from thermal power plants—from 100 km to 300 km, thus advancing for greater utilization of fly ash bricks. This led to the mushrooming of small scale fly ash brick manufacturing units all over India. While this transition from pollution-causing red clay bricks to more environmentalfriendly fly ash bricks is laudable, there are still certain deficiencies that need to be addressed in this sector before it can be truly called ‘green’.

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