Plan to use environ-friendly bricks in construction
The government plans to use environment-friendly bricks in construction instead of traditional bricks manufactured by burning the topsoil of the agricultural lands, in the next five years to curb air pollution.
"We've designed a workplan which will be implemented in phases by 2025," said Mallick Anwar Hossain, additional director general of the Department of the Environment.
The authorities aim for 10 percent in the current fiscal year and plans to reach the goal in five years, he said.
The environment ministry or DoE issued an order following an inter-ministerial meeting to curb air pollution. Later, a notice was issued to create public awareness on the issue.
During the dry season, 58 percent of the country's air pollution is caused by the brick kilns, according to the DoE.
The drive against air pollution is ongoing following a directive of the High Court. Moreover, the workplan to use environment-friendly bricks will be implemented as part of an effort to rein in air pollution.
The workplan to gradually increase the use of block bricks instead of soil bricks in government construction, renovation and roadworks in villages have been made mandatory under the Brick Manufacturing and Brick Kiln Establishment (Control) Act, said the ministry.
However, the directive will not be applicable to the construction, repair work of the base, sub-base of roads and highways.
"There won't be any more burnt bricks after five years. We're moving towards the use of block bricks manufactured in an environment-friendly way. No fire or tree is needed for manufacturing the bricks. It is made with sand and a chemical using the compressor," said Hossain.
Some of the companies are manufacturing these bricks, he said.
The traditional brick manufacturing method that burns coal causes 'a lot of damage' to the environment, according to DoE officials. It damages agricultural lands, especially the topsoil, and brings health hazards to people.
The Brick Manufacturing and Brick Kiln Establishment (Control) (Amendment) Act -2019 was passed in parliament this year to promote the use of 'blocks' instead of traditional bricks.
The department will monitor the brickfields if they are following the order. It has already begun a drive to evict illegal brickfields in five districts. The drive will be extended to other divisions.
"A mobile court is being run regularly to control the pollution," said the DoE additional director general.
"We'll ensure that the brickfields stop exuding environmental damaging materials," said Environment Minister Md Shahab Uddin on Monday.
The country currently has 8,033 brickfields in 64 districts. Only 5,225 of them received environment certificates.
On the other hand, environment-friendly technology is used in 5,798 brickfields while environment-friendly chimneys are used in 72 percent of the kilns.
The drive to evict illegal brickfields initially began in Dhaka and nearby districts which will be extended to other divisions.
On Tuesday, two High Court judges, Justice FRM Nazmul Ahsan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader, issued an order to close the illegal brickfields. It ordered the government to launch a mobile court and shut down illicit brickfields in Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Munshiganj, Manikganj in 15 days.
The mobile court has conducted 10 drives in a month since Oct 28 in Dhaka and its surroundings to curb air pollution. In Dhamrai, four brickfields were fined Tk 4.8 million. The contractor of metro rail and the elevated expressway was fined for pollution in the Farm Gate area.