Sunday, June 23, 2024

Curb brickfield induced air pollution

HUGE number of brickfields is operating in the country flouting relevant laws and polluting the environment. It is causing the biggest threat to the public health and we urge the government to stop the running of faulty brickfields to save the people. Estimates suggest that the number of brickfields may run over 11,000 and many of them are burning the air and producing bricks without the formal approval of the authorities concerned including the Department of Environment (DoE). The law stipulates that no brickfield can be set up within three kilometres of a residential area ‘- that is hardly followed now. It is one of the largest sources of emission of greenhouse gases, mainly CO2, responsible for global warming. Air pollution due to numerous brickfields around capital Dhaka and such other big cities is causing health hazards to large numbers of people. According to a study, an estimated 15,000 premature deaths, as well as several million cases of pulmonary, respiratory and neurological illness are attributed to poor air quality in and around the capital city and brickfields is a major cause of such deaths.
There are more than 500 brickfields around capital city Dhaka. A World Bank study released last year found that brickfields in the Northern edge of the city is the main source of fine particulate pollution, accounting for nearly 40 percent of total emissions during the 5-month operating period. Suspended particles released in the air from different kilns remains the biggest cause of harmful gases, dust, smoke and smogs in the dry season causing health problems to city dwellers. The smog effect is a dangerous threat to city dwellers especially to women and children. People with asthma problems have higher risks of facing respiratory attack because of the smog effect. A minor exposure to smog causes a healthy person to get asthma attacks.
The Department of Environment (DoE) has decided not to allow the operating or renewal of brickfield licenses using conventional equipment and methods that pollute air the most. Most of the brickfields are still using conventional methods because of low installation costs and because of their usability in low-lying areas. The DoE has hardly any control on most of the owners who are close to the government. It has inadequate manpower to detect violators. It is one of the major weaknesses in curbing the number of illegal brick kilns and conducting drives against the defaulters.
Most of the brickfield owners with profit-making tendencies are taking advantage of the lack of adequate manpower of the DoE and are running faulty kilns across the country. But the health of a huge number of people cannot be left at the whim of these brickfield owners.

-With The New Nation input

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