Bricks on the Mekong.

Walking into a brick factory in the Vinh Long region of the Mekong Delta unveils a rudimentary yet productive system to produce bricks for construction all over Saigon.

The riverbanks are lined with beehive shaped furnaces. These twenty meter high kilns sit amongst rusted and dilapidated corrugated iron sheds puffing black smoke into the blue skies of Vietnam. There are estimated to be around 10,000 of these kilns in Vietnam.

The shed I entered was producing 25,000 bricks per day. I was surprised at how few workers were involved in the process that started with blocks of clay being unloaded from boats which chug up and down the Mekong. The factory then sets to work passing the heavy raw material through a basic shaping machine to clean out impurities, pushing out a long sausage like brick which is cut, dried and fired in the coals from a blazing fire of rice husk.

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