The High Court has summoned the environment department's director-general and five deputy commissioners for their failure to comply with an order to demolish illegal brick kilns in Dhaka, Manikganj, Munshiganj, Narsingdi and Narayanganj.
They have been asked to appear in court on 17 May to explain their failure.
Upon a petition, the High Court bench of Justice Md Ashfaqul Islam and Justice Mohi Uddin Shamim issued the order on Wednesday.
Earlier on 1 March, following a supplementary petition, the court asked the authorities concerned to demolish all illegal brick kilns in the five districts within 15 days.
The petitioner, advocate Manzill Murshid, said to the media that the High Court had issued multiple orders to prevent air pollution. At one point, the court asked for a list of illegal brick kilns and the list of 319 illegal brick kilns came on 16 February.
"We sought court directives to close the brick kilns. Then the deputy commissioners reported they had closed many brick kilns. But a journalist from Savar said in an investigative report that many brick kilns which the deputy commissioner said had been shut down were still open, ," he added.
Manzill Murshid said the order was issued on Wednesday after the court noticed investigative news published in a newspaper.
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 failure of local administrations to tackle the situation, asking deputy commissioners concerned to submit compliance reports.
As per the HC's directive, three deputy commissioners and two representatives of the other deputy commissioners participated in the virtual hearing on 16 February.
But Manzill Murshid said the raids conducted by district administrations do not have a lasting impact as they only impose 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, the supplementary petitioner sought a four-point directive from the HC to better handle pollution.