Nepal : Eco-friendly material for rebuilding the damaged sector

The damage caused by the April 25 earthquake and its aftershocks to the brick production industry has also created an opportunity to incorporate cleaner and environment-friendly measures while . It is estimated that the quakes damaged 108 of the total 112 brick kilns operating inside the Kathmandu valley whereas many districts outside the Valley saw similar destruction. There are around 800 brick kilns in the country but the exact details on damages caused to the section in the sector are yet to be prepared.

Despite the damages caused to the industry, the demand for bricks, the key ingredient to both tradition and modern buildings, is likely to increase in the coming days as a large number of houses have been destroyed across districts.

Mahendra Bahadur Chitrakar, chairman of the Federation of the Nepal Bricks Industries, said various national and international stakeholders, including the Climate and Clean Air Coalition (CCAC), an international body working on promoting cleaner brick kilns in Nepal, have pointed out the need to ensure that brick industry is cleaner and safer for people and the environment. He said the brick industry is planning to form an expert team to assess the damage and status of the brick kilns and recommend rebuilding and retrofitting structures. Meanwhile, a high-level assembly of the CCAC held in Geneva last week recognised the tragic events following the earthquake in Nepal and agreed to fund a feasibility study to rebuild the country’s damaged brick industry in a way that reduces black carbon pollution and increases kiln efficiency. The study will also look at alternative building materials and earthquake safe construction practices.

A statement released by the CCAC states that the rise in demand for building materials presents an opportunity to ensure that Nepal’s brick industry is cleaner and safer for people and the environment. In the recent years, various stakeholders have expressed concerns over the deteriorating air quality due to emissions of harmful particulates and substances and pressed the brick factory owners to switch towards environment-friendly, cost-effective and energy efficient technologies. The brick producers too were engaged in discussions even before the disaster regarding cleaner measures and technologies to save energy and cost and contribute to cleaner environment.

Various studies have found that the operation of brick kilns using the Fixed Chimney Bull Trench Kilns inside the Kathmandu valley has led to significant rise in harmful air pollutants.

Ekantipur

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2 Comments

  1. Benjamin

    19/06/2015 at 11:45 am

    I’ve lived and worked in Nepal building natural buildings. The brick industry is destructive and its makes sure business as usual is maintained at the cost of the environment.

    Other companies, such as Abari are working at propagating alternative, sustainable and natural building technologies, such as rammed earth, bamboo carpentry and adobe bricks, but no light is shed on them, there is no funding to help spurring this technology. Not the least, there is a huge stigma around using such technologies which are associated to poverty, mainly because of NGOs who push such technologies for free on the market, targeting schools, orphanages, or destitute communities.

    There is a fundamental marketing strategy issue which should rather focus on selling upscale natural buildings and hoping the technology would trickle down.

    Regards,
    Benjamin

    • Editor

      19/06/2015 at 4:14 pm

      Thank you for your comment, Benjamin. Why don’t you help cope with this marketing strategy issue by sending us some initial information about it to editorial@asiagreenbuildings.com? We’ll be happy to shed some light on it and all in all help support the green building movement in Asia.

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