Open Philanthropy recommended a grant of $206,910 to Stanford University to support work led by Professor Stephen Luby on a randomized controlled trial (RCT) aimed at reducing pollution from brick kilns in Bangladesh.
Most traditional brick kilns in Bangladesh have already been updated to use a more efficient “zig zag” design, which produces up to 80% fewer particulate emissions. However, it is unclear whether zig zag kilns are more profitable than less efficient models in practice, which may be a barrier to completing the transition. This RCT will test interventions aimed at helping brick kiln owners design and operate zig zag kilns to specification in order to improve their profitability and efficiency.
Brick kilns are a major source of air pollution in South Asia and are responsible for roughly 11% of PM2.5 emissions in Bangladesh. If effective, the tested interventions could be scaled up to help reduce kiln emissions across South Asia.
This falls within Open Philanthropy’s focus area of South Asian air quality.