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in 1994, the highly-polluting nature of brick kilns forced the Supreme Court of India to issue directions for kiln operators to shift to cleaner production technologies or face closure. Thus began the hunt for a cleaner option.
Finally, there is a solution in sight -- a simple, eco-friendly technique called the Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln ( vsbk ) technology. Developed in China, the technology transfer has been facilitated by the Henan Academy of Sciences, China, while the process has been introduced in the unorganised sector by Development Alternatives, a Delhi-based non-governmental organisation.
The vsbk technology is energy-efficient as well as cost-effective. A kiln using this technology is very compact and does not require a large area of land. More importantly, the energy saved is double that of the best practices currently used in the traditional Bulls Trench Kiln ( btk ). Though in its initial phase, the vsbk technology has already recorded a potential reduction of 120 tonnes of carbon dioxide emissions per million bricks produced. With a capital investment of approximately Rs 3,85,000, an annual saving of 92 tonnes of coal for each kiln can be achieved ( Industry and Environment , Vol 21, No 1-2).
vsbk has been designed keeping in view its environmental performance and the health and safety of workers in the brick industry. It prevents accumulation of noxious gases. In its present state of development, vsbk also meets all the air quality norms. Energy and environmental monitoring teams at all vsbk sites have been ordered to ensure its reliability in terms of high performance
The promotion of this technology in India has been undertaken by Trans Sectoral Multiple Stakeholder Task Force, which is also planning to set up a national-level regulatory body like the Central Pollution Control Board to validate the environmental performance of the technology.