Thursday, January 23, 2020 | ePaper

Import coal but close those brick kilns which are using coals

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Coal imports are soaring day by day. Hundreds of brick kilns are now using  an increasing quantity of coal to meet the growing demand of both public and private sectors. Newspapers reported, imports of the fossil fuel rose 70 percent year-on-year to 57.54 lakh tonnes in the fiscal year 2018-19. Country's private importers spent Tk 3,950 crore to buy coal in the last fiscal year, and the cost of import of the fuel was two and a half times of the import cost three years ago. Brick kiln owners have focused on coal after the government banned the use of firewood.  It's learnt that about 98 percent of the imported coal are used to burn bricks to support the increasing demand.
We're not against any business when it is expanding. But it is a matter of great concern that use of huge quantity of coal in the kilns is increasing carbon emissions and other environmental pollutants in the atmosphere. We know coal is one of the major air pollutants. Not only that their harmful effects are also obvious on health, agricultural yields and climate. In general, the air quality in Dhaka city is the worst in the world where coal plays a major role. The Department of Environment recorded 8,033 brick kilns in 2018.  But in an approximate estimation, around 10,000 brick kilns produce 4,000 crore pieces of bricks every year.
Country's apex court a few days ago issued order to stop operation of all brick kilns in Dhaka and its adjacent areas. But the court directive is not yet followed by many brick-kiln owners. Besides, the government is also not paying any heed to environmental impact though the environment activists are against of using coals in power plants too.
It will be better for everyone, if alternative environment-friendly fuel is arranged for the brick kilns and power plants. This government needs to think coherently and rationally for once.

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