The black smoke from illegal brick kilns is endangering the Environment of Satkhira, Bangladesh
Satkhira is a district in Bangladesh under Khulna Division, located in its southwest part. It shares a border with India’s state of West Bengal. The Arpangachhia River runs through it. Satkhira City is the district’s largest city.
In different places of Satkhira, some miscreants using illegal power establish brickfields without heeding any rules and regulations. Indiscriminate burning of prohibited wood and tires is going on.
The environment is getting polluted. Public health is at risk. The leaders of the Climate Council are blaming the lack of administrative activity in these blockades.
According to the Brick Manufacturers’ Association, there are 140 manual brickfields in the Satkhira district. Of these, only Sadar Upazila has more than half a hundred.
More than half a hundred brickfields are on agricultural lands on both the Betna river and the Tala Kopotaksh river in the Satkhira Sadar. None of the brickfields followed the provisions of the “Brick Manufacturing and Brick Kilns Establishment (Control) Act 2013”.
In those brickfields, wood is burning instead of coal. Most of the brickfields in the district use the old feed system instead of the Zigzag firing kiln method. As a result, the surrounding environment is getting highly endangered by black smoke.
The owners are making many excuses for burning wood. Some claim that due to the high price of coal, they become forced to buy wood. Some are piling the wood, saying they do not use it. Again, many of them claim that using wood is the first step before burning coal.
Engineer Farid Rahman, owner of a brick kiln in Binerpota, said that coal price was BDT.800-900 per ounce. Currently, the price of coal has gone up to BDT.1,800 per ounce.
The price of bricks last time was BDT.8 to 10 thousand. He asked the question, is it possible to run a brick kiln with such an abnormal price of the coal?
Liaquat Sardar, another owner of a brick kiln in Binerpota, said a kilogram of wood costs is BDT.2.50 whereas per kg of coal cost is at BDT.18. Even though the government has banned it, many people are unwilling to use wood.
Brick is the first product of development. Nevertheless, he requested the government to reduce the price of coal to save the manual brick manufacturing industry.
These illegally operated brickfields are largely responsible for endangering the environment. The smoke from brick kilns affects the surrounding environment and neighbor environment. Furthermore, the leaders of the Climate Council are blaming the administration’s indifference for the supervision.
In this regard, Madhab Dutt, the general secretary of the district climate council, said, “There are more than one and a half hundred brickfields in Satkhira. Some are legal, some of them are illegal. The damage to the environment by burning wood at these brickfields is terrible.
We are in the midst of a severe environmental catastrophe. The administration is indifferent to the burning of the timber/wood in those brickfields. During the Corona pandemic, we suffered from shortness of breath.”
“If the environment loses its equilibrium, the people will suffer the most. If the Department of Environment does not take effective action, we will have no choice but to go for a strike if the administration does not take action,” he added.
Sardar Shariful Islam, deputy director of the environment department, said, “The environment department is unable to take action against the landlord owners due to the manpower crisis.
However, we will take initiative. Now we have a shortage of manpower and adequate transport. There are very few magistrates in the district administration. Even then we have noticed the brick owners.”
However, the brick industry has a terrible environmental impact: kilns emit about 1,072 million tonnes of CO2 into the atmosphere each year, accounting for 2.7 percent of total emissions. Every year, 375,000,000 tonnes of coal are burned in brick kilns worldwide.