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12 Dec 2018 | Air pollution solutions

Brick Entrepreneurs in Pakistan Learn to Construct and Operate Zig-zag Brick Kilns

The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC) of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), and the Department of International Development (DFID) Nepal are working to scale up the adoption of zig-zag kiln technology and good brick production practices from Nepal to other South Asian countries. Between 3 and 23 September 2018, 1500 brick kiln owners from 36 districts in Pakistan participated in five on-site training events held in Lahore, Multan, Islamabad, Faisalabad, and Gujranwala in Pakistan. ICIMOD organized these events in partnership with the National Energy and Efficiency Conservation Authority (NECCA) at the Ministry of Energy-Power Division, the Ministry of Climate Change (MOCC), and the Brick Owners Association of Pakistan (BKOAP) as well as technical partners from Nepal. The trainings were designed to stimulate demand for the technology and to facilitate brick entrepreneurs’ understanding of the improved technology through a combination of classroom and practical on-site sessions at the kilns. Focused sessions oriented 50 engineers at the Pakistan Engineering Council on proper construction of zig-zag brick kilns; 10 of the engineers were women.

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Close to 500 brick kiln owners attended the trainings and have expressed interest in converting to cleaner brick production technologies.

The events created awareness and trained brick entrepreneurs and workers in operating zig-zag kilns and precise brick stacking practices, and enhanced the capacities of entrepreneurs, workers, and engineers on cleaner brick firing practices and the construction of improved brick kilns. They also served as a platform to discuss country-specific issues and challenges and learn from the experiences of early adopters of these technologies in Pakistan.

Secretary Irfan Tariq, Director General, MOCC noted that support to measure kiln emissions and to introduce the Ratnoze instrument in Pakistan had been timely. He commended the training, saying it was significant for Quetta, which has 300 kilns. Additional Secretary Muhammad Shakeel Malik, Managing Director, NEECA said that the construction of 18 new kilns was a positive beginning, and pledged necessary support for successful operationalization. The Nepali Ambassadaor to Pakistan, Sewa Lamsal, appreciated the transfer of skills across borders and commended the efforts being made to improve brick kilns in Nepal and Pakistan.

The “Training on Construction and Operation of Zig-Zag Brick Kilns” is a part of a wider skills transfer effort in Pakistan. Through this, an estimated 2,500 kiln entrepreneurs and stakeholders will be trained in zig-zag brick kiln construction, and obtain practical knowledge about good practices related to the brick production process in 10 cities, including improved design of fixed chimney bull trench kilns, especially designed for brick kilns in Pakistan. The effort is expected to encourage brick kiln owners to switch to improved brick kilns. Focused knowledge about proper construction technologies such as cleaner brick kilns using zig-zag technology can positively impact brick enterprises and the environment. There are around 20,000 brick kilns in Pakistan, of which just 18 are currently using clean technologies. It is hoped that at least 40 % of existing kilns in Pakistan will take up zig-zag or other clean technologies in the future.

In 2017, ICIMOD had oriented brick kiln owners and workers to environmentally friendly and cost-effective brick technologies with support from CCAC and DFID and in partnership with NEECA, BKOAP, and the Environment Protection Department, Punjab (EPD, Punjab). Following this, MOCC introduced a directive in July 2018, restricting construction of conventional brick kilns. The directive extended support to early adopters of zig-zag kilns, as result of which the 18 new brick kilns were constructed in Pakistan. These efforts follow considerable success in conversion to clean brick production technology in Nepal, with an approximate 10% conversion to cleaner kilns from 2015 to date, leading to reduction in harmful emissions—approximately 45,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide, 1,400 tonnes of sulphur dioxide, 130 tonnes of particulate matter, and 36 tonnes of black carbon.

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