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Brick kiln pollution causing health hazard

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Our Correspondent

SIRAJGANJ, Jan 13: Several hundreds of people including students and teachers of two educational institutions at Talgachhi in Shahzadpur upazila of Sirajganj district are now facing serious health hazard due to massive pollution of two brick kilns. Huge toxic dust and black smoke, coming out from the two brick kilns are extremely polluting the local environment and affecting people with different air born diseases. Unlimited burning of firewood in the brick kilns is also posing another threat for the environment. But, there is no one to watch the matter and save the people from the hand of harm.

Local sources said that, Talgachhi is an urban area in the upazila and famous for a large hat, sit two times in a week. About two thousand residents live in Talgachhi and most of them are involved with farming, trading and weaving factories. There are also two educational institutions namely Talgachhi-Garadaho Vocational Institute and Gyanaalok Kinder Garten School on the western side of Bogra-Nagorbari highway in the locality.

But, the people of the traditional mini town are facing health problems, as two influential brick traders Rafiqul Islam and Abdul Matin ignoring all rules and regulations have set up two brick kilns namely MMS and MAM at the urban area after managing the officials of environment department and district administration. Therefore, the toxic dust and black smoke of the brick kilns are polluting the local atmosphere drastically and affecting people by different air related diseases. Students and teachers of the two educational institutions are almost falling sick. Many students have already stopped go to the educational institutions following the pollution of the two brick kilns. MMS and MAM. As a result, there is prevailing silence agitation among the local people over the issue, but they can't open their mouth against the brick kilns owners in fear of their muscle power, they claimed.

Abu Jafor Imran, Principal of Gyanaalok Kinder Garten School at Talgachhi Baz'ar told The Independent that, people including students and teachers of his school are facing serious health hazard due to continuous pollution of the two brick kilns. He also expressed surprise and said that, how the environment department issued clearance certificate to the brick kilns owners without visiting the spots and fulfilling the terms and conditions.

During a spot visit to different places in the district including Talgachhi, this Correspondent found that, most of the brick kilns have established in illegal process like the two at Talgachhi Baza'ar after managing the officials of environment department and district administration. They don't have clearance certificate of environment department and license of district administration.

Though somebody collected clearance certificates from environment department in Bogra, they did not follow the terms and conditions of brick kilns' establishment. They have got the clearance certificate in exchange of bribe. The concerned environment department gave such certificates to the kilns owners without visiting the spots and realizing the terms and conditions. They gave the certificate after taking big sum of money, sources said.

As a result, the dishonest brick kilns owners have got chance to set up brick kilns here and there including several urban areas and on fertile and arable lands. There is a provision that, each brick kiln should be installed under three acres of lands. There is no chance to use more than three acres of fertile lands. But, most of the brick kilns in the district were set up on 15 to 20 Bighas of fertile land. Besides, all the brick kilns owners are using firewood to burn the bricks without any resistant. During the visit, this correspondent also observed that, huge quantities of firewood remained heaps up surrounding each brick kiln.

While talking, some brick kilns owner seeking anonymity told that, clearance certificates are available here, if money is given to the officials of concerned environment department in Bogra. They further said, they took the licenses from district administration after paying Tk 40,000 to Tk 50,000. Abdul Khaleque and Abu Bakker, Najir of the DC office realized the money in the name of LR fund, they added.

While contacted, Abdul Khaleque, Najir of the DC office declined the allegation and said they give the licenses on basis of environment certificate. He further said, at least 72 brick kilns owners took license from them last year, while six more persons have appealed for license this year. As the environment department gives them certificate without fulfilling the terms and conditions, they are bound to pay licenses, he added. He however, requested the reporter not to public any news on this regard.

Sayef Ullah Talukder, Director of Environment Department in Bogra admitted his inability said that, they don't have necessary manpower. They have only two inspectors, who have no ability to visit all the spots. Besides, they give clearance certificates to the brick kiln owners under consideration of humanity.

Locals including teachers and students of the two educational institutes urged the authorities concerned to take necessary steps to stop such illegal brick kilns as soon as possible in a bid to safe the environment.


Source: newstoday




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