More than 50 brick kilns in Barguna district are operating without any government license or approval from the Department of Environment (DoE), causing damage to crops and destroying forestland in the district.
According to Barguna district administration, 28 brick kilns in the district have clearance from the DoE and license from the administration.
But at least 50 other brick kilns in are illegal and violating the government rules and directives.
However, locals allege that most of the brick fields are using drum chimneys and burning large quantities of firewood and that the district administration or the DoE are failing to take any action against the brick fields.
According to a directive issued by the DoE, all brick fields across the country must feature a modern and eco-friendly emission system by June 30, 2016.
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The Brick Making and Kiln Establishment (Control) Act, 2013 mandates transformation of traditional kilns into “energy-efficient and modern” ones. It also suggests converting conventional fixed chimney kilns (FCK) into environment-friendly technologies like Zigzag, Hybrid Hoffman, Vertical Shaft and Tunnel kilns.
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Illegal brick fields in Barguna have been set up not only near human habitation and crop fields, but also near roadsides, polluting the environment as well as decreasing soil fertility Dhaka Tribune
During a visit to the fields, it was found that Sobhan Kazi, a resident of Mahisdanga in Amtali upazila, has been running his brick field for more than five years. His kiln uses drum chimneys to fire fuelwoods openly. He has established his own sawmill to cut fuelwoods just beside the brick field.
Locals allege that Sobhan has been running the unauthorised brick-making operation in collusion with the local administration and DoE.
Similar examples of flagrant violation of rules and directives can be seen in other areas of the district, including Kumarkhali, Kakchira, Laxmipura, Taltala, Sakharia Bazar and Karaibarai. Brick kilns in these areas are using drum chimneys and using firewoods instead of coal.
These brick fields have been set up not only near human habitation and crop fields, but also near roadsides, polluting the environment as well as decreasing soil fertility.
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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 cropland.
Karaibaria’s HBA Bricks Manager Golam Haider Gazi claimed they are using traditional drum chimneys after securing permission from the authorities concerned.
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According to a directive issued by the Department of Environment, all brick fields across the country must feature a modern and eco-friendly emission system by June 30, 2016 Dhaka Tribune
Barguna Paribesh Andolon General Secretary Mushfiq Arif said the strict laws to install environment friendly brick fields are not being enforced in the district.
“The DoE and local administration fine some brickfields through mobile courts once or twice a year. But later the brick fields’ owners continue their operations, violating the laws,” he added.
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Barguna Agricultural Extension Department Deputy Director Sainur Azam said: “The DoE is required to hold discussions with us before approving any brick field. But they are not complying with the rule.”
“The proliferation of illegal brick fields is severely reducing agricultural production in the district,” he added.
Arefin Badal, assistant director at the DoE’s Barisal office, said: “We will carry out our drives against all such unauthorized illegal kilns.”
Echoing him, Barguna Deputy Commissioner Md Mokhlesur Rahman said they would immediately take stern actions against the illegal brick fields.