Punjab, identifying brick kilns as major contributors of smog and air pollutants to adopt advance and eco-friendly Zig-Zag technology.

Pakistan has been repeatedly under the adverse impact of Smog, a lethal complex kind of air pollution, since 2014 with record ratios of air pollution in all of its major cities particularly in Punjab province’s capital city of Lahore.

The province, realising its vulnerability to the deterioration of air quality and identifying brick kilns as major contributors tainting the ambience with highly injurious air pollutants resorted to adopt advance and eco-friendly Zig-Zag technology.

The Punjab province was the largest federating unit owing to its bulging size of population and second biggest with respect to its vast and diverse area, hence facing a health emergency due to Smog at the onset of every winter season.

The air pollution was causing 135,000 deaths every year including many of them children in Pakistan, said a research by The Lancet (a health journal). Moreover, the air pollution has also increased the susceptibility of sensitive groups of people mainly lungs and heart disease patients to catch chronic respiratory disease leading to death.

There were around 8,554 brick kilns existing in 36 districts of the province which were built on conventional bull trench kiln models that used to run over coal, plastic, tyres and other raw material creating thick dark smoke into the atmosphere.

Brick Kilns in Punjab were rapidly shifting towards eco-friendly Zig-Zag technology to protect the environment from hazardous dark smoke causing health injurious smog. As many as 3,203 Brick Kilns were successfully converted into Zig-Zag methodology which was an energy and fuel efficient and effective way of producing better quality bricks, a Punjab Disaster Management Authority (PDMA) official told APP. “Around 37.44 percent brick kilns had been moved onto cleaner and efficient technology.” The Ministry of Climate Change (MoCC), National Energy Efficiency and Conservation Authority (NEECA) in collaboration with International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD) spearheaded the project to mitigate the smog risk that was badly affecting the region every winter season.

PDMA officials informed that 798 brick kilns were under process of conversion whereas the remaining 5,351 would also be converted over the passage of time.

He went on to mention that 10 districts had converted over 50 percent of its brick kilns to eco-friendly technology including Lahore, Kasur, Okara, Pakpattan, Vehari, Bahawalnagar, Bahawalpur, Hafizabad, Mandi Bahauddin and Bhakar.

The districts with below 20 percent brick kilns converted were Rawalpindi, Mianwali, Jhang, Layyah, Faisalabad, Muzaffargarh, Multan, Rajanpur and Rahim Yar Khan.

The districts above 25 percent compliance of Zig-Zag technology were Attock, Jhelum, Chakwal, Khushab, Sargodha, Gujrat, Sialkot, Narowal, Gujranwala, Sheikhupura, Nankana, Chiniot, Toba Tek Singh, Sahiwal, Khanewal, Lodhran and Dera Ghazi Khan.

Director General Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency (DG-Pak-EPA) Farzana Altaf Shah tweeted that a speedy conversion of brick kilns had shown that this large and unrecognized sector of economy expressed the best performance for control of Air Pollution and steps towards Clean Pakistan.

She also shared a picture of a PDMA report highlighting the district complying with brick kilns conversion over Zig-Zag technology.

The zigzag technology as the name suggested had placement of bricks in a zig-zag manner that allows providing even heat to the bricks placed in the fraction with less consumption of coal. The conventional Fixed Chimney Bull’s Trench Kiln (FCBTK) had the bricks aligned in a straight pattern that had low production of A-grade bricks with maximum burning of coal. The eco-friendly technology also helped in turning the black soot coming out of the old brick kiln into white colored smoke with less air pollutants. Zig-Zag technology kiln also had a fan, providing an air control system and turning the coal burning process even more efficient.

Originally Published at Daily Times