At least nine brickfields are functioning on crop lands and residential areas in Saghata upazila of the district, posing threat to environment, agriculture and public health.
Seven of them are running illegally without proper documents and permission from the authorities concerned, says report of a recent survey conducted by the upazila administration.
The authorities, however, are yet to publish the report.
The brickfields are emitting smoke, ashes and heat waves that adversely affect crop and fruit production.
Besides, the ashes gather on the surface of croplands, affecting soil fertility, said local people.
Moreover, the brickfield traders are digging up surface soil of croplands and using it to produce bricks. That is why, the area of crop lands are shrinking, they alleged.
Thick black smoke from chimneys of brick kilns adversely affects air and environment that causes health hazard to people residing near the brickfields. People are being attacked with respiratory problems, bronchitis, cough and chest diseases, said Dr Dipankar Chakravarti, resident medical officer of Saghata Upazila Health Complex.
Children are the worst affected due to the situation, he said.
The brick fields under question are AR Bricks of Bonarpara, SO Bricks of Ullah Sonatola, BMK Bricks of Padumshaher, SOB Bricks of Kachua, BSP Bricks of Ghuridaha, Noor Bricks, Talukder Bricks, Power Bricks and Satota Bricks of Kamalerpara.
Of those, AR Bricks and SO Bricks have licenses with renewal.
Most of the brickfields are located on the croplands and residential areas. Four brick fields situated closely in Kamalerpara union have been manufacturing bricks using firewood that badly pollutes environment, said Afzal Hossain, a trader of Kamalerpara Bazar.
“Last year I submitted applications for no objection certificate from the district's agriculture department and the environment directorate of Rangpur division, but I am yet to get any reply,” said Shahidul Islam, owner of Power Bricks, Kamalerpara.
Talking to this correspondent, owners of at least two other brickfields made similar comments, saying that they have applied to the authorities concerned for license and permission for running brick kilns and the matter remains pending.
Contacted, Saghata Upazila Nirbahi Officer Uzzal Kumar Ghosh said they would soon launch mobile court drives against illegal brickfields.