The High Court on Monday ordered the authorities concerned to shut down all illegal brick kilns in Chattogram within a week to prevent pollution.
It also ordered them to submit a list to the court within 30 days of those authorized brick kilns which are using soil of hills and arable land for making bricks and using wood as fuel in the kilns.
The court also issued a rule seeking explanation as to why the inaction of the government in shutting down illegal brick kilns would not be declared illegal.
Secretary to the Environment Ministry, deputy commissioner of Chattogram and other concerned have been asked to respond to the rule within four weeks.
The HC bench of Justice Md Mozibur Rahman Miah and Justice Mohiuddin Shamim came up with the order and rule following a writ petition filed by Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh (HRPB). Advocate Manzil Murshid stood for the writ petitioner.
Advocate Manzil Murshid said several hundred illegal brick kilns have been operating in Lohagara upazila and other areas, leading to environmental damage. But the authorities concerned are not taking necessary action to stop the illegal activities, he added.
A research report by the DoE and the World Bank published in March last year on the sources of air pollution in Bangladesh identified three main sources –brick kilns, fumes of vehicles and dust from construction sites.
"Brick kilns are responsible for 58 percent air pollution in the capital. Plans have been taken to shut [traditional] kilns currently in operation. We're working to produce eco-friendly bricks," Environment, Forests and Climate Change Minister Md Shahab Uddin had told UNB.
He said the government plans to stop burning bricks at kilns by 2025 and use block bricks to construct buildings under government projects.
Kiln owners have already been directed to produce 10 percent block bricks, the minister said, adding that it will be increased to 100 percent over time and the use of block bricks will gradually be made mandatory in private projects, too.
In a series of directives in January, the High Court had asked DoE to shut down illegal brick kilns within two months.
The DoE has been conducting drives against the illegal brick kilns for months now and slapping fines.