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Clamour for less-polluting brick kilns

  

HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE

KATHMANDU: An international discussion on ‘South-South Exchange Workshop on Brick Technology and Policy’ concluded yesterday calling brick kilns to adopt modern technolgoies to minimise adverse impacts they cause to the environment.

Participants from 11 countries took part in the discussion, identifying solutions such as modern brick-making technologies, which are less polluting than older technologies, use of alternative building materials such as fly ash, and increased political recognition of the problems, especially in the major brick-making countries of Asia, Latin America, and Africa, International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), which organised the discussion together with National Institute of Ecology (Mexico), said in a press release yesterday. They also emphasised on the importance of coordination between ministries of housing, industry, health, agriculture and environment to achieve large-scale reduction of pollution at the national level.

Bricks are a primary construction material used in many regions and their production is known to be a highly polluting activity resulting in emissions of short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including black carbon.

Secretary at the Ministry of Industry Krishna Gyawali said the brick sector accounts for more than 50 per cent of coal consumption in Nepal. He noted the importance of continued research on the role of black carbon in the melting of the Himalayas and glaciers. “It’s time sources such as brick kilns reduced the emission of black carbon and other pollutants,” he said.

The primary fuels used at traditional brick kilns are coal, wood, local biomass and other low-cost fuel or scavenged fuel, such as bunker fuel, waste oil, used tyres, sawdust, plastics, battery cases and dung. Climate and Clean Air Coalition to Reduce SLCPs, which convened the programme, said it will continue discussions on the issue and consider priorities for reducing SLCPs from brick production in its next meeting, scheduled for July 2013.

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