New emission standards set for brick kilns

The Ministry of Population and Environment has issued a new Emission Standards and Stack Height for Brick Industry.

According to a notification recently published in the Nepal Gazette, the new standard was developed by exercising the power conferred by Rule 15 of the Environment Protection Rules, 1997. With the issuance of the new standards, the previous standards published on February 25, 2008 have been repealed.

As per the new standards, the maximum limit of Suspended Particulate Matter and the minimum limit for the height of stack of brick kilns vary depending on their types. The maximum limit of SPM and minimum height of stack for bull’s trench kiln/forced draft (fixed chimney) is 350 mg/Nm3 and 17 metre, respectively. It shall be 500 mg/Nm3 and 30 metre for bull’s trench kiln/natural draft (fixed chimney), 350 mg/Nm3 and 17 metre for Hoffman kiln (forced draft), 500 mg/Nm3 and 30 metre for Hoffman kiln (natural draft), 250 mg/Nm3 and 15 metre for vertical shaft kiln, 200 mg/Nm3 and 7 metre for hybrid Hoffman kiln, and 100 mg/Nm3 and 10 metre for tunnel kiln.

“Emission sample shall represent both charging and non-charging conditions and the standards shall be applicable for all kinds of fuel to be used in kiln,” it reads. The government felt an urgent need to develop and enforce new standards as brick kilns contribute significantly to emissions of carbon dioxide, particulate matter, including black carbon, sulphur dioxide, oxides of nitrogen and carbon monoxide.

According to Department of Environment, the pollutants not only have an adverse effect on the health of workers, local population, and vegetation, but also contribute to global warming. About 110 brick kilns (15 in Kathmandu, 32 in Lalitpur and 63 in Bhaktapur) are in operation in Kathmandu Valley. A total of 9,334 workers are employed in the industry of which 2,772 are female.

These industries use coal as the main fuel, and consume 12,409 tonnes of coal and 1,881 tonnes of other fuels. Dust generated and blown due to air movement is seen as a major issue among employees and neighbouring locals.