Very few brick kilns in Bangladesh have been built following the proper design, resulting in huge environmental pollution, experts said yesterday.
The construction of kilns in violation of rules must be stopped immediately for sustainable development, they told a roundtable, "Brick Making and Kiln Establishment (Control) Act 2013".
The experts also called for cutting the use of clay in brick-making and adopting new technologies to make those materials like silicate and concrete.
Bangladesh Environment Lawyers' Association (Bela) and Prothom Alo jointly organised the discussion at the newspaper's office in the capital in association with Global Environment Fund (GEF) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
Brick kilns are the largest source of greenhouse gases in Bangladesh, said Syeda Rizwana Hasan, chief executive of BELA.
They emit 87.5 lakh tonnes of greenhouse gases per year, she added.
Rizwana said a large number of the environmentally-friendly 3,500 zigzag kilns, which were said to have been converted from conventional kilns, were changed in the documents only.
She also noted that the 2013 act did not state anything about how a kiln should be constructed.
Md Raisul Alam Mondal, director general of the Department of Environment, said, "We have to think about the harmful effects of brick kilns on the environment though they are necessary for ongoing works for sustainable development of Bangladesh.
Abdul Qayyum, associate editor of Prothom Alo, also the discussion's moderator, said, "We need bricks to construct infrastructures...but not by harming the environment."
However, President of Bangladesh Brick Manufacturing Owners' Association Mizanur Rahman Babul said there was no sustainable design of brick kilns in Bangladesh.
"Following the government-approved design, we have built our brick kilns investing up to Tk 80 crore, but there is a frequent change in the design and we are being asked to build our kiln following the new design -- this is absolutely irrational," he added.