Pathshala South Asian Media Institute,
In the last six years, Dhaka was able to indulge in just thirty-eight days of quality air, which constitutes less than two percent. AQI or Air Quality Index quantizes air quality against human livability. A livable city has an AQI ranging from 50-100. Dhaka has an AQI of around 219, which has been dictated as highly unlivable by WHO, who also discourages people from spending time outside their homes. The main reasons the air in Dhaka is in such dire condition are a rise in construction works, the use of fossil fuels, and the increase in brick mills. I want to shed light on the brick mills spawning around the city of Dhaka illegally. My photos portray the chimneys of such mills as a character from peripheral regions of Dhaka, the likes of Munshiganj, Narayananj, Savar, Ashulia, Aminbazar. Recently there has been a rise in construction in Dhaka, and since there are no substitutes for conventional bricks in this country, this has resulted in a rise in brick production, which in turn sees an increase in brick mills. Each year sees a production of 17.2 billion bricks from eight thousand mills. A tremendous imbalance in ecology due to the damage to water, land, and the habitant microscopic organisms has forced the farmers’ hands into using more chemical fertilizers and insecticides. This has caused both a rise in the cost of farming and the number of environmental toxins and poisons.
The Government has passed Brick Production and Brick Field Act-2013. However, the laws are yet to be enforced and illegal activities in brickfields continue to prevail. The law states that no soil can be taken from farmable lands, hills, mounds, swamps, barren lands, ponds, lakes, rivers or any other natural bodies without the permission from respective Government offices. No practical implementation has been observed and soil is illegally uprooted from these areas.