Addressing highly polluting brick manufacturing in South Asia

Monday, April 9, 2018
3:30 PM - 5:00 PM
William J. Perry Conference Room
Encina Hall, Second Floor, Central, C231
616 Jane Stanford Way, Stanford, CA 94305
  • Stephen Luby

Abstract: Clay fired bricks are a primary building material used in the rapidly expanding construction sector across South Asia. These bricks are primarily manufactured by small enterprises using inefficient, highly polluting coal-fired kilns. The black carbon and the greenhouse gases emitted by brick kilns across South Asia is comparable to the global radiative forcing of the entire US passenger car fleet. The pollution generated by these brick kilns also affect human health. In Dhaka, Bangladesh brick kilns contribute 40% of the ambient particulate matter during winter and are estimated to result in 5000 adult deaths each year. In addition, the coercive collection of topsoil as part of clay mining undermines agricultural productivity in settings of high poverty and malnutrition.

This talk will discuss why bricks are manufactured in Bangladesh using an approach that is so damaging to the environment and to public health. It will explore combined technical, financial and political strategies to transform the sector.

Speaker bio:  Prof. Luby studied philosophy and earned a Bachelor of Arts summa cum laude from Creighton University. Prof. Luby earned his medical degree from the University of Texas Southwestern Medical School at Dallas and completed his residency in internal medicine at the University of Rochester-Strong Memorial Hospital. He studied epidemiology and preventive medicine at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Prof. Luby's former positions include leading the Epidemiology Unit of the Community Health Sciences Department at the Aga Khan University in Karachi, Pakistan for 5 years and working as a Medical Epidemiologist in the Foodborne and Diarrheal Diseases Branch of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention exploring causes and prevention of diarrheal disease in settings where diarrhea is a leading cause of childhood death.  Immediately prior to his current appointment, Prof. Luby served for 8 years at the International Centre for Diarrhoeal Diseases Research, Bangladesh (icddr,b), where he directed the Centre for Communicable Diseases. Prof. Luby was seconded from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and was the Country Director for CDC in Bangladesh.

During his over 20 years of public health work in low income countries, Prof. Luby frequently encountered political and governance difficulties undermining efforts to improve public health. His work at FSI engages him with a community of scholars who provide ideas and approaches to understand and address these critical barriers.