ADB provides loan for Bangladesh’s cleaner brick kiln project

DHAKA, May 13 (Xinhua) — The Asian Development Bank (ADB) is providing 50 million U.S. dollars in loans to help improve the environment by financing more energy-efficient brick kilns in Bangladesh.

According to a statement of the Manila-based lender received here Sunday, the bank will provide its loan fund in local currency to the Bangladesh Bank which will relend the funds to participating financial institutions.

These financial institutions will then provide loans to brick makers seeking to upgrade their existing kilns to cleaner ones or to those looking to build cleaner kilns for the first time.

The ADB’s Board of Directors approved the “Financing Brick Kiln Efficiency Improvement Project” on May 10, which will be implemented from 2012 to 2015, said the statement.

“Brick-making is one of the biggest polluting industries in the country,” said Anqian Huang, Finance Specialist in the Public Management, Finance Sector, and Trade Division of ADB’s South Asia Department.

“By helping brick makers to switch to cleaner kinds of kilns, the air in Bangladesh will be cleaner and people’s heath much improved.”

According to the ADB, the brick sector contributes around 1 percent of the Bangladesh economy. However, it is highly polluting, burning at least 6.0 million tons of coal and emitting at least 9. 8 million tons of carbon dioxide (CO2) every year, largely because most of Bangladesh’s estimated 5,000 brick fields use the highly polluting fixed chimney kilns, said the bank in the statement.

A fixed chimney kiln uses 240 tons of coal and emits 582 tons of CO2 per million bricks produced, it said, adding that this compares with the cleanest tunnel chimney which uses only 100-120 tons of coal and produces 291 tons of CO2.

As part of the effort to reduce pollution and coal use, the Bangladesh government has already passed a ruling that no new yearly licenses for fixed chimney kilns will be renewed after September 2012.