DHAKA, September 25, 2011: Cleaner Brick making technologies such as the Vertical Shaft Brick Kilns and the Hybrid Hoffmann Kilns are more socially profitable than the predominant but polluting Fixed Chimney Kilns, says the ‘Introducing Energy-efficient Clean Technologies in the Brick Sector of Bangladesh’ Report. According to the report, by replacing the brick cluster of northern Dhaka with Vertical Shaft Brick Kilns (VSBK) would reduce the impact of brick pollution on premature mortality by more than 60 percent while Hybrid Hoffmann Kilns (HHKs) would reduce it by 45 percent. The Clean Air and Sustainable Environment Project under Department of Environment and the World Bank jointly organized a workshop today to share the key findings of the report.
Fixed Chimney Kilns (FCKs) contribute up to 20 percent of the total premature mortality due to urban air pollution in Dhaka. FCK accounts for more than 90 percent brick kilns in Bangladesh, despite its highly polluting and energy-intensive features. The 530 FCKs in north Dhaka that produce 2.1 billion bricks annually are the city’s main source of fine particulate pollution. The VSBK and HHK are the most socially profitable technologies, with net benefits of TK 68-75 per thousand bricks. The high costs of air pollution and CO2 emissions make the FCK socially unprofitable. The low investment cost and the ability to operate on lowlands made FCK possibly most prevalent.
‘The Government has taken commendable steps such as to ban traditional high polluting kilns by next two years. The World Bank is supporting the Government of Bangladesh’s efforts to move to cleaner and energy efficient brick making technologies.’ said Zahid Hussain, Acting Head, World Bank Bangladesh ‘The brick sector would increase manifold with population growth. Unless the regulatory framework is strengthened to reduce exposure to pollution from brick kilns, Dhaka’s air quality cannot be saved. It is also equally important to diversify products by promoting new types of bricks and by using locally available alternative raw materials’.
FCK requires high coal consumption to operate. In terms of CO2 emissions, the VSBK and the HHK are the cleanest technologies. Adopting the VSBK or HHK can provide considerable carbon benefits.
The report made policy recommendations for the development of the cleaner brick industry in Bangladesh over the next 20 years. The report suggests recognizing brick kilns as a formal industry which will enable easier access to financing and improved working conditions. Awareness raising for cleaner technologies is also important which can be achieved through setting up a Brick Technology Center.
Brick-making sector contributes about one percent to the country’s gross domestic product and employs about one million people. The report will provide the Government and relevant stakeholders with the necessary information for the effective implementation of actions toward a cleaner and more energy efficient brick sector in Bangladesh.