On the outskirts of Dhaka, around 250 brick kilns are operating without clearance certificate from the Department of Environment (DoE) in Keraniganj.
Sources said there are 300 brick kilns in Keraniganj and adjacent areas including Rajendrapur, Doleshwar, Jajira and Mollahat. Among them, 250 are operating illegally.
Unlimited burning of firewood in the brick kilns is causing air pollution which is now a major concern for the residents of Dhaka and nearby areas.
Sources said the brick kilns are affecting the environment and the health of the locals, particularly the young and the old. Many of them are suffering from respiratory problems.
Moreover, a number of brick kilns set up on arable land in Rajendrapur, Doleshwar, Jajira and Mollahat area in Keraniganj are also destroying the fertile topsoil.
In Rajendrapur, there are 15 brick kilns along the boundary walls of the Keraniganj Jail. The jail authorities said they have written to the authorities concerned 12 times but the situation did not change.
Farmers and locals alleged that Konda Union Parishad Chairman Faruk Chowdhury is the president of the Birck Kiln Owners’ Association and the illegal kilns are being operated under his management.
He could not be reached for comment.
In November last year, the High Court ordered the authorities concerned to shut down all the illegal brick kilns in Dhaka and its surrounding areas including Keraniganj, Savar, Narayanganj, Munshiganj, Gazipur and Manikganj within 15 days to reduce air pollution in the capital city.
Amit Debnath, Upazila Nirbahi Officer (UNO) of Keraniganj, said, “The drive against illegal brick kilns is underway and we provided necessary help to DoE with executive magistrate and police for conducting drive.”
Shaheda Begum, deputy director of DoE, could not be reach for comments for this article.
Sources said that in the last six months, the mobile courts fined Tk several lakhs and demolished four illegal brick kilns.
On Saturday morning, Dhaka was ranked second worst in the list of cities with poor air quality.