There are 319 illegal brickfields in Dhaka and its adjoining four districts – Manikganj, Munshiganj, Narsingdi, and Narayanganj – that are killing the air in these districts, the Director-General of the Department of Environment (DoE), Dr Abdul Hamid, told the High Court (HC) on Tuesday.
95 of them have been shut down in the last year by DoE mobile courts, he told the HC bench of Justice Md Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Md Iqbal Kabir.
According to the DG of the DoE, of the illegal brickfields, 113 are in Dhaka district, 46 in Gazipur, 123 in Narayanganj, 26 in Munshiganj, and 11 in Manikganj. The HC directed the department to submit the information as an affidavit by the next hearing on 22 February.
Earlier, the HC bench sought a list of brick kilns located in Dhaka and its surrounding districts following concerns about air pollution levels in Dhaka and the local administration's failure to tackle the situation, asking deputy commissioners (DC) of the districts concerned to submit compliance reports.
As per the HC's directive, three DCs and two representatives of DCs participated in the virtual hearing. The district administrations told the HC that the DoE has a list of all the illegal brickfields and many of them have been shut down.
But supplementary petitioner Manzil Morshed said the raids conducted by the district administration do not have a lasting impact as the administration only imposes fines during a raid and brickfield owners reopen the kilns soon after. He added that most brick kilns are fined about Tk50,000 or less which does not affect their business very much.
Earlier in 2019, the HC gave a nine-point directive to handle air pollution which was not properly implemented and made pollution worse. So, earlier this month, supplementary petitioner Manzil Morshed sought a four-point directive from the HC to better handle pollution.