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Political Economy of Brick kilns Sector in Punjab, Pakistan (A Baseline Study)

Name of Project:

Political Economy of Brick kilns Sector in Punjab, Pakistan (A Baseline Study)

Client / Organization:



Environment, Survey

Executive Summary:

Approximately 1 00000 brick kilns are scattered across South Asia. Together, they contribute significant emissions of greenhouse gases (CHG) and Black Carbon (BC) to the atmosphere. Black Carbon is considered the second most important global warming pollutant after carbon dioxide (C02), and has direct effects on health, visibility, and melting of Himalayan snow and ice. Therefore, CHG and BC is of local, regional, and international concern. In Pakistan, brick kilns are considered among the major source emitting these two most important global warming pollutants. A vast majority of brick kilns in Pakistan is Fixed Chimney Bull Trench Kilns (FCBTK) and Moving Chimney Bull Trench Kilns (MCBTK). Both FCBTK and MCBTK employ straight line firing configuration for baking of green bricks which is highly inefficient in terms of energy consumption and combustion, and hence highly polluting. Besides, they are often poorly constructed and suffer from excessive air leakage, resulting in heat loss, inefficient fuel usage, and high air pollutant emissions. Punjab province alone host 47.3% of around 20000 brick kilns found all across Pakistan. Of the brick kilns found in Punjab province, 89% are FCBTK and little higher than 9% are MCBTK. On an average one brick kiln in Punjab province, consume 328.2 tons of coal for brick production in one year. This suggests that in 9459 brick kilns all across Punjab province consume on an average a total of 3.1 million tons of coal for brick making in a single year.
A feasible alternative for conversion of FCBTKS into more environmentally friendly brick kilns is to modify brick staking practices from straight line to zigzag patterns in a manner that acquires substantial energy efficiency and combustion while retaining FCBTK structure. The zigzag staking pattern of green bricks for baking results in improved combustion efficiency due to modified air flow patterns. For every brick that is produced in a zigzag FCBTK (FCZgBTK) emit approximately 90% less Black Carbon compared to straight line firing. If all FCBTKs in South Asia are converted into FCZgBTKs, it is estimated that a total of Black Carbon emissions from the brick kiln sector alone could reduce by 60%. Besides, FCZgBTKs reduce coal consumption by 20% providing a ‘win-win’ situation for brick kiln entrepreneurs and the environment.
Better development of brick kilns sector in Pakistan on technological footings and evidence based best practices is also imperative because, brick kilns sector drives many other sectors. Brick making sector in Pakistan is not only providing fundamental inputs to the formal and informal construction sector, but also provide a major means of creating employment opportunities particularly in the mainland rural areas of the country. At the same time, strengthening housing and construction in Pakistan is among priority sector for Government of Pakistan (GOP). Pakistan is facing a housing backlog of 10 million housing Units with demand growing at a rate of 0.7 million new housing Units per year.
Vowing to help country’s poorest stratum move from ‘kachi abadies’ (informal settlements) into newly constructed formal settlements, the GOP has announced construction of 5 million housing units over 5 years through ‘Naya Pakistan’ housing scheme’. Bricks are one of the most utilized walling materials in Pakistan. According to an estimate, Pakistan construction industry to grow 8.9% yearly over the next 5 years would ultimately increase demand for bricks. Better late than never, this is the high time that the brick kiln sector in Pakistan is converted into an efficient, environmentally-and-worker friendly sector.
The International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) is coordinating the CCAC BPI activities in South Asia. Following successful piloting of FCZgBTKs in Nepal, ICIMOD has initiated providing technical support to brick kiln entrepreneurs initially in Punjab province in Pakistan. In this regard ICIMOD is closely collaborating with Brick Kiln Owners Association of Pakistan (BKOA), Ministry of Climate Change, and Environmental Protection Agency, GOP. The overall purpose of this collaboration is to transform brick kiln sector in Pakistan into an efficient, environmentally friendly-and- worker friendly sector. In this regard, it was imperative to better understand the brick kiln sector in Punjab. For this purpose, a comprehensive baseline study was conducted in order to establish a baseline scenario through documentation of the overall political economy of the sector, existing brick making practices, and the socioeconomic conditions of the workers engaged in the brick kiln sector in Punjab, Pakistan. This report provides important insights into the overall situation of the brick kiln sector in Punjab province of Pakistan. It highlights key findings of the baseline study and suggest important recommendation highly necessary for the development of the brick kilns sector in Punjab in particular and in Pakistan in general.

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