After abuse

  • 14/07/2005

After abuse Laments Surendra Kumar, a resident of village Parsotigarhi in district Mathura, “Every morning we find a layer of black particles on our rooftop and in our fields. Our clothes become blackish within 4-5 hours. Black particles collect in our nostrils.” His village is not the only one finding it difficult to cope with growing pollution in the area. The informal brick industry is the third largest consumer of coal in the country, after power plants and the steel industry. Says Mahesh Sharma, a kiln-owner near Imaliya village, district Bulandshahar, “It’s actually the cost and consumption of the coal that decides the rates of bricks and our profit margins.” But coal contributes heavily to the particulate emissions kilns are notorious for (see box: Jet black smoke).

Rubber’s the choice
Kilns also use biomass, primarily rice husk. But what really causes the black smoke to spew from chimneys is the use of rubber as a fuel. Kiln owners use rubber and waste oil as fuel because production capacities have grown, and coal doesn’t suffice. At least in eastern Uttar Pradesh, the demand is so high that rubber scrap dealerships have emerged as a viable profession. Says R K Sharma, an Aligarh rubber scrap dealer, “A quintal of rubber scrap costs Rs 300 to Rs 400, much cheaper than coal. It’s a good fuel because it burns for a longer time”. It’s collected locally, but “Sometimes we bring rubber tyres all the way from Lucknow and even from West Bengal.”

Rubber burns better because its calorific value

Related Content