Labour organizations have strongly criticized the Punjab government’s decision of closing at least 700 brick kilns for two months to combat worsening of smog.
Pakistan suffered one of the highest death tolls in the world from air pollution in 2015.Toxic smog spreading various health issues which must be controlled to save the nation from the disasters.
Last month, the provincial environment department had announced shutting down the kilns for two months in a bid to tackle the hazard of smog. Brick kilns are recognized as one of the largest stationary sources of black carbon, and along with iron and steel production.
A traditional brick kiln operating will have likely noticed billowing black smoke spewing from its chimney and that smoke is breathed in by workers and nearby communities which becomes the serious health hazards.
Members of the labour organizations alleged that the government’s “uncalculated” move had left thousands of people unemployed and the authorities had also not taken any steps to control the ensuing increase in the prices of bricks.
The government has also ordered that all kilns be converted to “zigzag” technology, a design change that makes more efficient use of fuel, according to the Pakistan Environmental Protection Agency.
An internal zigzag structure in kilns, combined with the use of an air blower, can cut the consumption of coal, slash emissions substantially and improve the quality of bricks produced.
It is worth mentioning here that International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), a Nepal-based non-governmental organization, has carried out two training programmes on the technology for kiln owners in Pakistan, aiming to cut smog and climate-changing emissions.
The public needs to be made aware of the possible health issues that can be encountered during this environmental hazard and educated on ways they can protect themselves and prevent exacerbations of pre-existing medical conditions.