Unauthorized illegal brick kilns are liable to Air polluting gradually
By Adnan Tazvir
Bangladesh: According to the Department of Environment (Bangladesh) and the District administration of Naogaon District of Bangladesh, there are 203 brickfields in eleven Upazilas (Root-level Govt. Administration) that District. Of these, only six have received clearance from the Department of Environment.
None of the remaining 197 low-lying areas has any environmental clearance because of which they have not received any approval (license) from the Authorities.
Even after this, the work has not been stopped in all these illegal brick kilns, but the brick burning process is still on.
Concerned individuals say that the administration has played a virtually silent role in the illegal burning of bricks in 96 percent of the lowlands of the district.
The environment is being severely polluted due to the ebbs that have developed in or near agricultural lands and residential areas without paying attention to environmentally friendly technology and without following any rules. On the one hand, there are health risks of the residents, environmental pollution is increasing, and on the other hand, agriculture and fruit production are being disrupted.
According to the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act – 2010 and Preparation-of-brick-and-kiln-establishment-(control)-Act-2013, no brick kiln can be constructed within one kilometer of specified areas such as settlements, hills, forests, and wetlands. No brickfield will be considered legal in or around agricultural land.
Rafiqul Islam, vice-president of the local of Bangladesh Poribesh Andolon (BAPA) (Bangladesh Environment Save Movement) of Naogaon district, said brickfields are being set up in residential areas or near agricultural land without heeding the law. Crops and fruit trees are being damaged due to this low tide smoke. Human health risks and natural disasters are occurring. However, the administration is not taking any effective steps in this regard, which is very disappointing.
Rafiqul Islam, president of Sadar Upazila Brickfield Owners’ Association and chairperson of Sadar Upazila Parishad, said all brick kiln owners want to renew their licenses. However, legal complications have arisen due to the non-fulfillment of the requirements of the existing brick kiln preparation law.
According to reliable sources from the Naogaon district office of the District administration and environment department, 197 brick kilns owners have not been able to register or renew their kilns licenses since 2018 due to lack of environmental clearance. As a result, there are only six legal brickfields. Manda Upazila has the highest number of brickfields in the district.
No one of 36 Brickfields of this Upazila has no environmental clearance. After that, there are more brickfields in Sadar Upazila. Out of 35 brickfields, only three have environmental clearances. Out of 16 brickfields in Atrai Upazila, two have environmental clearance. In Niamatpur Upazila, 1 out of 6 brickfields has environmental clearance.
Besides, there are 26 brickfields in Badalgachhi Upazila, 20 in Mahadevpur, 17 in Patnitala, 21 in Dhamairhat, 12 in Raninagar, 10 in Porsha, and 2 in Sapahar but none of these brickfields in these Upazilas have environmental clearance.
It can be seen that there is always a coil of smoke around the settlements of these villages and the croplands. Black toxic smoke from the high brick chimney is spreading around the area. The village of Paharpur is home to 120-130 families and there is a brick kiln called Messrs. BBC Bricks and two chimneys about 150 meters to the west of the village.
An unnamed ebb worker said that every day more than four tonnes of coal is burned in their two ebb chimneys and black smoke is emitted from the zigzag for the first 1-5 minutes while re-charging after half an hour. The smoke comes out again for 5 minutes straight.
Farmer Abdus Salam said he had cultivated cabbage and cauliflower on his two bighas of land this winter. However, due to the toxic fumes of the two brick kilns, many trees died and the yield of paddy in this field was not good. The fruit trees planted around the homestead do not yield at all. (One Hectare = 3.954 Bigha)
Ziaul, Mansur Ahmed, Samsuddin, and several others, residents of Chaumashia village in Bhimpur Union Parished (Root-level local Government) of Mahadevpur Upazila, said that 12 brickfields have been built in the fields of two agricultural lands in Chaumashia village and they cannot breathe properly due to black smoke.
Maqbool Hossain, assistant director of the Naogaon office of the Environment Department, said, “I have written to the district administration more than once to conduct a campaign against illegal tides, but regular raids are not being carried out due to lack of magistrates.”
In this regard, Uttam Kumar Roy, Additional Deputy Commissioner of Naogon Dist., said that due to COVID 19 Pandemic protection related work pressure it was not possible to give regular magistrates to conduct operations in brick kilns to date, but illegal anti-kiln operations will be carried out regularly in the coming days.