The High Court directed authorities to shut down and fine all illegal brick kilns in Chittagong. The authorities are pushing for a move to block bricks in the near future.
The High Court (HC) on Sunday directed the authority concerned to shut down all illegal brick kilns that do not have license within February 18.
The bench of Justice Md Mozibor Rahman Mia and Justice Kamrul Hossain Mollah passed the order after hearing a petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB).
The High Court also asked to file an affidavit after closing all the illegal brick kilns, including 71 others which were fined previously by the mobile courts.
The court fixed February 22 for the next hearing on the matter.
Advocate Manzil Murshid stood for the HRPB, Deputy Attorney General Nowroz Rasel Chowdhury represented the state while Advocate Syed Kamrul Hossain moved for the Environment Department.
Last year, on December 14, the High Court ordered the shutdown of all illegal brick kilns in Chittagong within a week, to prevent pollution.
It also ordered them to submit a list to the court within 30 days, including authorized brick kilns which are using soil from the hills and arable land to create bricks and are using wood as fuel in the kilns.
The court also issued a rule seeking an explanation as to why there was inaction from the government in shutting down illegal brick kilns, and why it was not declared illegal.
71 illegal brick kilns were fined in spite of the shut down in the Lohagora and Chandanaish upazilas.
Pollution from brick kilns
A research report by the DoE and the World Bank was published in March last year, focusing on the sources of air pollution in Bangladesh. Three main sources were identified – brick kilns, fumes from vehicles and dust from construction sites.
“Brick kilns are responsible for 58% of the air pollution in the capital. Plans have been created to shut down [traditional] kilns that are currently in operation. We’re working to produce eco-friendly bricks,” Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin told UNB.
He said the government plans to stop burning bricks at kilns by 2025 and use block bricks instead, to construct buildings under government projects.
Kiln owners have already been directed to make sure 10% of their production are block bricks, the minister said.
It will be increased to 100% over time and the use of block bricks will gradually become mandatory in private projects as well, he added.
In a series of directives in January, the High Court had asked DoE to shut down illegal brick kilns within two months.
The DoE has been conducting drives against the illegal brick kilns for months now and has been issuing fines regularly.