Brick production is still an ancient practice in many countries, where bricks are produced in artisanal kilns fueled by coal, wood, dung and other biomass materials. As a result, voluminous amounts of black carbon are spewed into the atmosphere, contaminating the air, water and earth along with the lungs of millions of people who work or live near the kilns. Black carbon has 460-1,500 times more warming potential than CO2.
Most brick production takes place in Asia. For example, there are more than 100,000 kilns in India, producing between 150 and 200 million bricks annually, and almost 20 billion bricks produced annually in Bangladesh. Some of these kilns have been operating for more than a century. Latin America also has a considerable number of brick production facilities, from an estimated 300 in Chile, to between 8 and 10 thousand in Peru, to approximately 17,000 in Mexico.
Recent studies show that implementing more efficient technologies, mainly during the firing of bricks, can result in reductions of pollutant emissions from 10 to 50%, depending on the process, scale and fuel used. The transition to modern, energy-efficient and environment friendly practices of brick-making is not an easy task as tradition and poverty militate against change. New approaches involve not only new technology but also economic incentives and new regulatory and public policies.
If you want to collaborate with us to reduce short-lived climate pollutants, we encourage you to explore engagement options on this website and to contact the Secretariat to discuss further.