The Department of Environment (DoE) yesterday demolished three illegal brick kilns on the banks of Turag River in Ashulia of Savar.
During the daylong drive, a DoE team, led by Executive Magistrate Tamzid Ahmed, also partially dismantled nine other brick kilns and fined the owners Tk 95 lakh in total for not having legal documents, reports our Savar correspondent.
The brick kilns are M/S Raju Bricks, MSB Bricks, Surma Bricks, Styling Bricks, Dhaka Bricks, two units of M/S Ashraf Bricks, SS Bricks and Meghna Bricks. SS Bricks is owned by the local union parishad chairman.
Tamzid said the brick kilns were set up on Turag banks, though there is a High Court directive against it. Legal action will be taken against the owners, he said.
BRICK KILNS TOP POLLUTER
According to DoE, brick kilns are the top air polluter in seven major cities in the country, particularly during dry season when most bricks are made, turning the air quality of these cities severely unhealthy.
A five-year survey by the department found Narayanganj has the most polluted air, followed by Dhaka. Third is Gazipur, which is followed by Rajshahi, Chattogram, Khulna, and Barishal. The survey was done between 2013 and 2018 with funds from the World Bank.
Continued exposure to poor quality air can cause heart diseases, lung cancer, chronic obstructive pulmonary diseases, and respiratory infections, including pneumonia. It could also cause stroke, according to WHO.
The UN health body estimates 37,000 Bangladeshis die due to air pollution every year, the average age of the victims being just 38 years.