In recent years India’s central and the state governments have started controlling air pollution from brick kilns. In 2016, several State Pollution Control Boards ordered brick kilns in their jurisdiction to shift from Fixed Chimney Bull’s Trench kilns to Zigzag kiln technology. More recently India’s Ministry of Environment Forest and Climate Change launched the National Clean Air Programme, which directs all brick kilns to shift to Zigzag kiln technology. As a result, around 8,000 kilns have converted to Zigzag technology in the last 4 years.
Two studies, by Greentech Knowledge Solutions and the Centre for Science and Environment, looked at the effectiveness of converting kilns in Bihar and the National Capital Region. Both studies concluded that the performance of Zigzag kilns and the effectiveness of kiln conversions are influenced by three parameters: kiln design, quality of construction, and kiln operation and skill of operators. In Bihar 43% of the surveyed kilns were unable to realize the full benefits of conversion due to the lack of trained workers to construct and operate zigzag kilns.
There are approximately 50,000 Fixed Chimney Bull’s Trench kilns in India that need to convert to Zigzag kiln technology over the next 3 years. The total number of workers need to operate the converted kilns is estimated to exceed 1 million. A massive training initiative is therefore needed to train these many workers over a limited period of time to ensure the air pollution and black carbon mitigation potential of the kiln conversions.
The operation of Zigzag kilns by trained workers will result in a 20-25% reduction in fuel consumption, up to 50% reduction in air pollutants and black carbon emissions, and improvements in brick quality.
The Climate and Clean Air Coalition is working closely with Greentech Knowledge Solutions and the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) to support India in the launching of a skill development programme for brick workers in close collaboration with the Skill Council for Green Jobs.