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Government moves to reduce burnt bricks’ use

FOR SUSTAINABLE ENVIRONMENT MANAGEMENT— Chilima (front row, centre), Mbawala (2nd left), Trade Minister Mark Katsonga Phiri (1st left) and Transport Minister Jacob Hara (far right) and development partners

By Deogratias Mmana:

The government has embarked on a path to reduce the use of burnt bricks in the construction industry with the aim of promoting the use of sustainable, environment-friendly and energy-efficient construction materials.

Vice President Saulos Chilima said this yesterday when he launched the K30 billion Limestone Calcined Clay Cement (LC3) Project, which is part of the Public Private Partnership (PPP) promotion that seeks to promote the use of environment-friendly building materials in the construction sector.

Under the project, Lafarge Cement Malawi will use Limestone Calcined Clay Cement while Terrastone Limited will be using Cold Ceramic Brick Technology.

“These projects will reduce the negative environmental impact and instead allow us to substitute resources scarce to Malawi with other raw materials that are in abundant supply and readily available in the country.

“In the case of the partnership with Lafarge, the cement production technology currently used will be replaced with the Limestone Calcined Clay Cement technology. This will mean reducing Lafarge’s carbon dioxide emissions by 10,000 tonnes annually. We expect that this will inspire the whole construction sector to operate more efficiently,” Chilima said.

He said continued use of burnt bricks in the construction industry had negative consequences on the environment.

“Malawi has a fast-growing population and requires high-quality building materials to meet the housing demand. Continuing with current burnt bricks, coupled with charcoal burning, we will be depleting our forests further and risking more climate change induced disasters,” he said.

He urged all stakeholders to join forces to ensure that the reduction in the use of burnt bricks becomes a reality. He also called for awareness, training and support to those in the brick burning business so that they begin to use modern ways of making bricks without using firewood.

“In this way, we don’t compromise their ability to earn a living. On its part, the government is already in front leading these efforts to reduce the environmental impact of the building material sector in Malawi through the gazetting of the 2018 Sustainable Building Material Act,” Chilima said.

Germany Deputy Head of Development Cooperation Knut Steffen Gummert said the K30 billion project would reduce imports related to cement production by up to K11 billion annually. He further said the project would create up to 1,000 jobs through the valorisation of the country’s raw materials.

Gummert said the LC3 technology reduces energy consumption in cement production and subsequently carbon dioxide emissions by 30 to 40 percent.

Germany is funding the project, which will be implemented by GIZ and its Indian partner organisation, Tara.

“Each one of us is aware of the importance of cement in the construction sector. It is an indispensable raw material for construction and, as such, crucial for achieving the goals set in the Malawi 2063 vision in the areas of infrastructure for tourism and agriculture as well as urbanisation,” Gummert said.

He said cement production contributed about eight percent to global carbon dioxide emissions.

Mining Minister Albert Mbawala said the project was sustainable because Malawi has a lot of mineral deposits.

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