Local people living on Manpura Island of Bhola are witnesses to the decimation of trees like chambol and raintree for brick kilns. Though the Brick Manufacturing and Brick Kilns Establishment (Control) Act was ratified into law back in 2013 and strictly prohibits the use of wood as fuel in brick kilns, owners of some kilns openly flout the law since the local administration remains silent on the issue. That unfortunately sums up the situation for these island residents who will have to bear the full brunt of the environmental damage being caused due to the illegal tree-logging taking place in the area.
The reality is that these brick kilns are owned directly or are patronised by local influential people with direct or indirect political links. Despite being armed with an Act, forest ministry and Department of Environment officials are apparently powerless to act against these brick kiln owners. While kiln owners make hay flouting the law, burning firewood poses health risks for humans with increased air pollution. The continued burning of trees is also damaging the biodiversity in the area.
It may be expedient for members of the local administration to explain their inaction blaming vested political quarters, but that cannot be an excuse for not upholding the law. It is their job to act against lawbreakers, in this case errant brick kiln owners and a failure to uphold the law brings into question whether some local officials of these government bodies are complicit in these illegal acts.