According to a source of Barisal divisional environment office, over one-third of the listed brick kilns in the district are operating illegally, although brick field owners were issued notices several times.
The environment office acknowledged that Barisal still lags behind despite the government's ardent effort to build environment friendly brick kilns.
Sources at the environment office said there were 310 listed brick kilns in Barisal. Of the brick kilns, only 189 have got the approval while rest others were doing their business without any approval from the authorities concerned.
The approved kilns are applying a couple of modern procedures for their production, including zigzag process and use of coal.
However, the other 121 kilns have using firewood for their production which is seriously harmful to the environment, the environment department sources said.
Assistant Director of the environment department’s Barisal office Md Rasheduzzaman said: “We have been continuing our drive against the illegal kilns. Owners of such kilns often face penalty.
“We conducted our drive in 16 kilns from December 12, 2016 to January 3 of this year. During the drive, a number of chimney have been demolished and Tk13 lakh were fined to different brick kilns owners.”
The drive will be more rigorous in the coming days, he warned.
Apart from this, many brick fields at Barisal Sadar, Bakerganj, Ujirpur and Mehendiganj upazilas have been set up not only near human habitation and crop fields, but also near roadsides polluting environment as well as decreasing soil fertility.
There is also allegation that some brick kiln owners had some coal stacks near their brick ovens only to show that the hard black mineral is being used there as fuel, thus giving a legal coverage.
Many like them have set up sawmills near their brick kilns to saw log to be used as fuel.
According to the Brick Kiln Amendment Rule 2001 and Environment Conservation Act 1995 (amended in 2010) brick kilns should not be constructed within around three kilometres of any house or crop field.