Hundreds of women and children work in brick kilns across the country. Under WTO and UN rules, children are barred from working. As a result, Pakistan has enacted laws to discourage children working in brick kilns during school hours and has imposed harsh punishment on those kilns that allowed children to work. But due to abject poverty, many families still make their children work. Instead of continuing such short fixes, the government should upgrade the brick industry of Pakistan with one new big technology. New equipment like compressed earth block machines should be used as they produce air-dried bricks from dirt that are 30 percent stronger than baked clay bricks that have interlocking mechanism, making them stronger and safer during earthquakes. The bricks are manufactured at the construction site, saving time and money.
Since Pakistan has a sub-tropical weather, the summer temperatures are high, while clay-baked bricks have a low insulating quality. This results in high energy costs for home owners for keeping their homes cooler with air-conditioning. The air-dried compressed-earth dirt bricks have high insulating properties, which will help reduce energy costs for home owners, while improving the quality of life. The new bricks will also reduce cost of bricks by up to 40 percent while reducing construction time as the interlocking bricks are quicker to assemble.
Engr Shahryar Khan Baseer