The High Court yesterday ordered the government to conduct mobile court drives to shut down the illegal brick kilns in five districts -- Dhaka, Narayanganj, Gazipur, Munshiganj, and Manikganj -- within 15 days.
In response to a writ petition, the court directed the authorities to take necessary measures to remove dust and waste from streets, footpaths, and flyovers in the capital within seven days.
The order comes days after worrying data regarding the capital’s air pollution was made public.
The authorities have also been asked to have water sprayed in dust-affected areas, walls, and trees in the city at least twice a day.
At the same time, the HC asked the government to form a high-powered committee, led by the environment secretary, within 15 days to formulate a guideline for reducing air pollution in and around the capital and to find out how the air is being polluted.
Other committee members include the chief executive officers of Dhaka north and south city corporations, representatives of Bangladesh University of Engineering and Technology (Buet), Dhaka Water Supply and Sewerage Authority, Bangladesh Road Transport Authority, Dhaka Electric Supply Company and other agencies concerned, the HC said.
The court asked the environment secretary to submit the committee’s report before it by January 5.
The HC bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader passed the order after Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh filed a writ petition seeking necessary orders.
During yesterday’s hearing, petitioner’s lawyer Manzill Murshid told the HC that the capital’s air pollution was alarming and that directives from the HC were needed so that the authorities take necessary steps.
The lawyer recently submitted a supplementary writ petition seeking necessary HC orders to reduce air pollution in Dhaka.
Yesterday, Deputy Attorney General Abdullah-Al-Mahmud Bashar told the court that the capital’s air was polluted mainly due to the operation of illegal brick kilns outside the city.
Following the same writ petition, the HC on January 28 this year issued a rule asking the government as to why the inaction of the administration to curb air pollution in Dhaka city should not be declared illegal and as to why it should not be directed to take effective steps to stop air pollution in the city.
The capital had the worst air quality in the world on Monday, according to Air Visual, an air quality measuring application.
The alarming situation reportedly prompted the government to chalk out immediate measures to give city-dwellers some relief.
“The level of air pollution is alarming. Just a few days ago, air quality of Dhaka was the third or fourth worst in the world. But now it tops the ranking,” said Shahab Uddin, minister for environment, forest and climate change, who presided over an emergency inter-ministerial meeting on Monday.
Last year, Dhaka’s air was ranked third most polluted in the world according to an air quality data compiled by the World Health Organisation for megacities with a population of 14 million or more.
Barrister Toufiq Inam appeared for Dhaka North City Corporation, while Sayeed Ahmed Raja stood for Dhaka South City Corporation.