Air Quality, Atmosphere & Health

, Volume 7, Issue 1, pp 103–112 | Cite as

Health benefits of adapting cleaner brick manufacturing technologies in Dhaka, Bangladesh

  • Sarath K Guttikunda
  • Mohammed Khaliquzzaman


A total of 1,000 kilns producing 3.5 billion bricks and consuming 0.85 million tons of coal per year resulted in an estimated 2,200 to 4,000 premature deaths and 0.2 to 0.5 million asthma attacks per year in the Greater Dhaka region. In this paper, the emission reductions and health cost savings are presented for moving to cleaner brick manufacturing technologies for the districts of Gazipur, Savar, Dhamrai, Rupganj, Manikganj, Kaliganj, and Narayanganj. A summary of various technologies and feasibility of these technologies based on lessons learnt from the pilots is discussed. We explored three “what-if” scenarios through 2020 for better energy efficiency, lower coal consumption, and lower emission rates, under which the total health cost savings are estimated to range between USD12 million annually for short-term implementation and up to 55 million annually for long-term implementation. Between 2015 and 2020, the cumulative health cost savings could range between USD126 and 234 million, which clearly outweigh any cost of capital investment necessary for the technology change. An improvement in energy efficiency will result in USD1.8 to 3.0 million per year in coal savings, which will accrue to the kiln owners collectively, and these savings will pay back the capital investment within 3–4 years, in addition to the health cost savings for the city inhabitants. Hence, the entrepreneurs have all the social, environmental, and economic incentives to adopt cleaner technologies. A major gap at the regulatory level is in building awareness for the entrepreneurs and setting up an incentive structure to implement this transition, which is being addressed by an advisory committee by the Government of Bangladesh responsible for the revision of the Brick Burning Act of 1989 and related legislations.


Particulate pollution Dispersion modeling Health impacts Air quality management ATMoS 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Division of Atmospheric SciencesDesert Research InstituteRenoUSA
  2. 2.Environment Unit, The World Bank OfficeDhakaBangladesh

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