Rezaul Haque, Sylhet
A huge amount of top soil collected from the farmlands of Sylhet region is being illegally used to feed the massive fuel demand of the brick kilns of the region. Despite the Environment Preservation Act and its supporting laws and policies, the environmental degradation in Sylhet region continues unabatedly by almost 300 brick kilns of the region, putting fertile lands under threat.
Concerned authorities, however, are totally indifferent about continuing malpractice.
Besides looting the top soil, it has been alleged, owners of brick kilns burn firewood collected from the forests of the region and emit dense black smoke, again violating burning rules of brick kilns.
During spot visits to a number of brick kilns in the Sylhet district, I was found that many of them have been built near residential areas or schools, or on farmlands.
According to the Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association, there are a total of 296 brickfields in Sylhet division. Of them 141 are in Sylhet, 59 in Habiganj, 34 in Sunamganj, and 62 in Moulvibazar.
Among the brick kilns many are now out of order, claimed Altaf Hussain, additional director of Sylhet divisional environment office. He said around 219-220 brick kilns are in operation in the division. In reply to a query, he claimed that regional environment office is regularly monitoring the activities of brick kilns. “Whenever we find any irregularity, we take legal action without any delay.”