Habla Zig-Zag Kiln Technology

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“ILO estimates 2.6 million children in Nepal work in hazardours jobs. It says 60,000 children work in the country's brick kilns and 32,000 in stone quarries"

Hazards Magazine Oct–Dec 2009



Why act now on SLCPs?

Key short-lived climate pollutants (SLCPs), including methane, black carbon, troposheric ozone, and many hydrofluorocarbons, are responsible for a substantial fraction of near term climate change, with a particularly large impact in sensitive regions of the world. Fast action to reduce these pollutants has the potential to slow down the warming expected by 2050 by as much as 0.5°C, as well as prevent over two million premature deaths each year and avoid annual crop losses of over 30 million tons. These actions need to be complemented by deep and rapid cuts in carbon dioxide emissions if the global mean temperature increases over the 21st century is to be held below 2°C. (CCAC)




Each year, 3.1 million people die prematurely from indoor and outdoor air pollution. Short-lived climate pollutants are largely to blame. Fast actions on short-lived climate pollutants has the potential to prevent over 2 million of premature deaths each year.(CCAC)




The brick industry of developing countries is clearly identified as significant contributor of both short lived climate pollutants particularly in the form of black carbon and CO2 emissions.

Black Carbon soot is a major problem. It results from incomplete combustion in brick kilns where predominantly obsolete and antiquated technology is widely used, much of it illegally operating.

Worldwide, clay brick production is estimated to be 1500 billion per annum. The majority of bricks produced in developing countries are handmade. This industry has a divesting environmental impact resulting in irreparable harm to the environment and the lives of those working and living nearby.

Kiln replacement with low emission, fuel efficient and functional Habla Zig-Zag technology offers a 'win-win' opportunity to significantly reduce both Black Carbon (SLCP) and CO2. This can offer both local, regional and long term change improving health, workplace and agricultural outcomes for million poor brick workers and their families.

Today, there are over 300,000* of these kilns worldwide that currently:

  • release over 890 million tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions into the atmosphere every year;
  • burn 375 million tonnes of fossil fuel every year, plus millions of tonnes of scavenged highly polluting fuel, e.g. tyres, wood, waste oil, cow dung, paper, liquid tar (mazoot) battery cases, etc.
  • frequently operated under cover of darkness;
  • create hazardous working conditions for workers, including young children;
  • use inefficient technology, often producing poor quality bricks.
Under increasingly strict environmental laws many developing countries have banned polluting kilns particularly the Bull's Trench Kiln and the Clamp Kiln. Despite bans many of these kilns continue to operate undeterred.

BLACK CARBON: A Climate Pollutant Short Lived (SLCP)

Black Carbon is described as a Short Lived Climate Pollutant, it results from the incomplete combustion of fossil fuels, wood and other biomass. Black Carbon remains in the air for a matter of weeks , removal brings immediate measurable benefits .Co2 remains in the atmosphere for decades, as a long term problem both short and long term can be addressed at the same time.

Emission reduction is ideally addressed on dual basis of  short term  and long term reduction.

Many of the sources of Black Carbon relate to human activity: transportation, shipping, agricultural burning, diesel engines, residential cooking and heating and brick kilns. Brick Kilns are one of the largest stationary sources of Black Carbon in Asia.

Black Carbon is an important component of airborne particulate matter, a dead air pollutant. Globally, the WHO estimates that outdoor particulate matter is responsible for more than 865,000 premature deaths each year. Black Carbon is described as particularly dangerous, recent studies suggesting that it has an even greater effect on health than general particle emissions.

There are specific links between particulate emissions, heart attacks, cancer and respiratory illness. Black Carbon has both global and regional impacts. It disturbs tropical rains, contributes to the melting of snow and ice in the Arctic as well as the glaciers of the Himalayas it contributes to atmospheric brown clouds and directly impacts on monsoonal rainfall patterns.

Black Carbon severely affects both indoor and outdoor air quality in work places, homes, cities and villages. A 2011 World Bank report suggests that 40% of fine particulate air pollution in Dhaka, Bangladesh is attributable to brick making. Issues of agricultural stainability, diminished crop yields and food security are directly related to contamination from Black Carbon particularly of wheat, rice and soya bean cropsare particularly affected.

Black Carbon affects the living standards, health and working conditions particularly of the poor and vulnerable at kiln sites, surrounding villages and valleys. The emissions are detrimental both locally and regionally.


The widespread introduction of the Habla Zig-Zag Kiln technology implemented by progressive "roll-out" into developing countries has the potential to directly address significantly on climate change and global warming.

Habla Zig-Zag Kiln technology can offer a 'win-win' solution in tackling climate change by reducing CO2 emissions from the brick industry worldwide by over 400 million tones per annum and by providing a kiln with minimal Black Carbon emissions. Emissions are equal to that of the tunnel Kiln.

From a humanitarian perspective the Habla Zig-Zag Kiln will significantly improve the work practices, working and living conditions of the poor within developing countries. It also offers all year round production capability and an improved overall economic outcome for the community.


The kiln technologies currently employed in developing countries require anywhere between 20 and 150 workers per kiln. The workforce is often family or village based, the industry also employs child labour.

Bonded labour is associated with the brick industry in some countries.

In some settings this backbreaking and illegal work is carried out by children as young as eight years old. They work from sunrise to sunset with the best workers carrying up to 1,500 bricks a day at 12 bricks, 2.5 kg per brick (30kgs) a load. By the end of the day they will have moved three tones of bricks and will have earned 15 rupees, or about US$0.50.

These dangerous and unsafe working conditions mean that workers labour in the constantly present choking dust from the kiln and belching smoke from the chimneys. They often have to climb steep inclines, both walking on and carrying hot bricks. The kiln site is home for the majority of the workers, living in makeshift sub-standard accommodation. Black Carbon, soot envelops working and living areas. Brick industry workers are amongst those 865,000 premature deaths each year from outdoor particulate matter as estimated by the World Health Organization.

It is important that change to the brick making industry in developing countries does not to remove jobs but rather significantly improves work practices as well working and living conditions along with the overall efficiency of the kilns. This will lead to more affordable housing, reduced poverty, and provide an improved economic outcome for the community as a whole.

There is no other affordable, proven, brick burning technology that will enable developing countries to reduce pollution and CO2 emissions by over 400 million tonnes per annum whilst mitigating Black Carbon Emissions.

There are significant benefits from acquiring the carbon credits.

*Figures are based on a very conservative 300,000 brick kilns. We estimate this is more accurately in excess of 500,000. India alone has over 100,000 kilns and the industry is expanding.
(1) Inhabitat – inhabitat.com/global-co2-emissions-down-1-3-percent-in-2009/
(2) The Australian – Greenhouse gas levels increase – Sid Maher – 19 April 2011

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