Transforming Brick Manufacturing in Bangladesh to Promote Clean Air and Better Health
Across South Asia, the brick manufacturing industry is dominated by inefficient, coal-burning kilns. Brick kilns are one of the largest emitters in the region. In Bangladesh, kilns contribute 17 percent of the country’s annual CO2 emissions and 11 percent of PM2.5 concentrations. The pollution released by the brick industry impacts local air quality and health and agricultural productivity, as well as contributes to global climate change. The vast majority of pollution-related deaths occur in low and middle-income countries. Reducing the emissions and air pollution generated by brick manufacturing has the potential to achieve large social benefits including improved health and slower global warming. A properly constructed and operated zigzag kiln can reduce black carbon by 41 percent, CO2 by 21 percent, and PM2.5 by 80 percent, yet the vast majority are incorrectly constructed or operated. A number of barriers are likely preventing the successful implementation of zigzag kilns. We propose a randomized intervention among kiln owners in Bangladesh that relaxes these barriers to improve zigzag kiln performance, reduce air pollution, and lower greenhouse gas emissions. To maximize the impact of this research, we will also work with our partners and leverage existing relationships with government agencies in Bangladesh to develop strategies to scale nationally.