Within the framework of PAGE Uruguay, the CCAC supported the participation of experts in the first international event on Cleaner Production and Formalization of Brick Production Activities held...
In Uruguay, approximately 14.000 families are involved in artisanal brick production. According to non-official statistics there could be around 4.000 to 5.000 brick production units distributed across the country, using traditional methods.
Making bricks the traditional way is an art that requires several stages. First the elements are obtained to make the raw material: water, soil, clay, sand, and organic matter such as horse dung. This material is mixed and put into moulds, then laid out to dry for three days. Then they are baked in an oven, with firewood serving as the main fuel, for between two and seven days, and allowed to cool. Four days later they are ready for sale. At each stage of the process, there are abundant occupational hazards and environmental impacts.
Uruguay's brick sector is characterized by a high rate of informality and is socially vulnerable. Lacking other sources of fuel, many times wood from protected species of trees are burnt to bake the bricks, generating emissions of particulate matter, black carbon and other pollutants that contribute to climate change and poor air quality.
Uruguay forms part of UN PAGE and through this programme has been supporting the policy design process to address issues around artisanal brick production, giving specific attention to decent work and environmental practices.