In January, Animal Nepal honoured Mr Indra Tuladhar from Bungamati Itha Udyog for producing ‘clean and green’ bricks using Chinese technology. The animal welfare organization urges other brick producers to follow his example, thus eliminating environmental pollution as well as the exploitation of working children and equines. “The industry has the technology and the resources to stop the production of ‘blood bricks’; all it needs is the right motivation,” said Krishna Singh, programme manager at Animal Nepal.

Animal Nepal’s gesture is supported by Dutch Party for the Animals member Martin Schoenmakers. Together with Animal Nepal Volunteer Director Lucia de Vries, he offered a certificate and gifts to the clean bricks producer.  

The Bungamati brick factory introduced Chinese automated brick making machinery in 2009. Instead of being seasonal, the factory now produces bricks all year round and no longer employs migrant workers, children or donkeys. The bricks are transported by electric carts. Although the process is not yet completely environmentally friendly, there is a great reduction in emissions. Bungamati Itha Udyog is one of the three factories in Nepal using this technology.

Enterpreneur Tuladhar says the brick industry suffers from labour problems, animal abuse and environmental pollution – they are the main polluters in the Valley. The contracted workers at the improved kiln earn a fixed salary and no longer face hazardous work conditions.

Since 2008, Animal Nepal has reached out to around 500 equines (mostly donkeys) working in brick kilns in Kathmandu Valley. There is relentless pressure to over-work and over-load animals. Life expectancy is short and most donkeys suffer from serious health problems.

In order to help make buyers make the right choices, a network of NGOs active in environmental protection, children’s rights and animal welfare, including Animal Nepal, have joined together to promote a responsible brick-making industry. They are introducing a certification system that will provide brick factories with a red, orange or green label.

Krishna Singh, Programme Manager Animal Nepal