Brick kilns must be closed down

05 January 2023

The deputy commissioners (DCs) of 64 districts have been urged to take legal steps against illegal brick kilns that pollute the environment and to stop the use of wood as fuel in the brickfields. The Forest and Climate Change Ministry called upon the DCs to do so at a meeting with them organised by the ministry. The meeting was arranged in an effort to take steps to control the pollution caused by the illegal brick kilns and stop use of plastic and polythene.
The fundamental component of construction, bricks and brick kilns have grown with the Bangladeshi economy in the last decade. In 2013, the number of brick kilns was around 5000. This grew to 8000 by 2018 - a 60 per cent growth in five years. Brick kilns have negative environmental and health impacts, especially because of the dated manufacturing technology and proximity of kilns to major cities with large populations. Further threat is posed by the spatial density of brick kilns. These kilns are usually clustered in certain areas, sometimes close to major rivers and adjacent cities. This poses serious health risks to Dhaka city residents during brick manufacturing season which runs from December to April. The Department of Environment (DoE) reports that around 58 per cent of fine particles in Dhaka air come from brick kilns.  
The DoE has asked to take necessary steps to ensure the use of 100 per cent environment-friendly block bricks in all government works by the year 2025 as per the target fixed by the government. The meeting decided to strengthen the regular enforcement and mobile court drives conducted by the DoE and the district administration to stop the production and use of polythene shopping bags and the marketing of the wrappers which have been banned by the government. We found it difficult to regulate the brick industry and maintain the air quality of big cities like Dhaka, Gazipur and Narayanganj.

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