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Messer`s Super Bricks Threatens Orchards of Farmers, Bangladesh

Threats posed by a traditional Brick Kiln is opposed by local farmers who fear loss of their orchards and other agricultural products.


According to government’s calculation, Bangladesh has about 7,000 brick manufacturing units that are engaged in producing bricks in burnt method using top soil from agricultural lands. Unofficially, the number of brick kilns are much higher that annually claim to produce 15 hundred crores of burnt bricks. The sector is the largest green house gas emitter of the country and is widely resisted at the community level for destroying local agricultural production system and causing pollution. Successive governments have enacted laws to regulate the sector and make it environmental friendly through introduction of new technologies like the Hybrid Holfman, Zigzag, Shaft, and Tunnel, but those could hardly change the dirty face of the conventional brick producing sector. The existing law has put strict restrictions on locations where brick fields can be set up but the prohibitions are largely violated by the entrepreneurs against which local resistances and legal actions are also increasing.

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Basic Data
Name of conflict:Messer`s Super Bricks Threatens Orchards of Farmers, Bangladesh
State or province:N/A
Location of conflict:Jessore District
Accuracy of locationMEDIUM (Regional level)
Source of Conflict
Type of conflict. 1st level:Industrial and Utilities conflicts
Type of conflict. 2nd level:Urban development conflicts
Other industries
Specific commodities:Land
Manufactured Products
Project Details and Actors
Project details

The Brick Kiln is owned by a private individual which has been set up and was attempted to be made operational in 70 hectars of agricultural lands situated in daag (plot) No 4157, khatian (sheet of land records) 1504 of the Satbariya Mouza of Uttar Satbariya Village, Keshobpur Upazila, Jessore District in the name of Messer`s Super Bricks. The authorities concerned (Deputy Commissioner and the Department of Environment) vide their letters dated 27.12. 2017 and 29.12. 2017 refused to give permission to the Brick Field as the same has been proposed on agricultural land and has around it human habitation and productive agricultural lands of local farmers.

Project area:70
Type of populationRural
Affected Population:2,000 - 3,000
Start of the conflict:10/10/2017
Company names or state enterprises:Messers Super Bricks from Bangladesh
Relevant government actors:Ministries of Land, Environment and Forest; Director General and Director (Jessore), Department of Environment; Deputy Commissioner), Jessore District; Superintendent of Police and Officer-in-Charge (Keshobpur), Jessore District; Upazila Nirbahi Officer, Keshobpur Upazila, Jessore District; Chairman, Upazilla Parishad, Keshobpur Upazila; Assistant Commissioner (Land), Keshobpur Upazilla, Jessore; Upazilla Agricultural Officer, Keshobpur Upazilla.
Environmental justice organizations (and other supporters) and their websites, if available:Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA)
Conflict & Mobilization
IntensityMEDIUM (street protests, visible mobilization)
Reaction stageIn REACTION to the implementation (during construction or operation)
Groups mobilizing:Farmers
Local ejos
Forms of mobilization:Lawsuits, court cases, judicial activism
Media based activism/alternative media
Official complaint letters and petitions
Environmental ImpactsVisible: Other Environmental impacts
Potential: Air pollution, Biodiversity loss (wildlife, agro-diversity), Food insecurity (crop damage), Global warming, Loss of landscape/aesthetic degradation, Noise pollution, Soil contamination, Deforestation and loss of vegetation cover, Surface water pollution / Decreasing water (physico-chemical, biological) quality
Other Environmental impactsBurning of a bricks essentially means loss of agricultural production.
Health ImpactsPotential: Mental problems including stress, depression and suicide, Other Health impacts
Other Health impactsIn areas having brick kilns people commonly suffer from breathing problem, eye irritation, skin problems, headache, loss of appetite, lung inflammation. Farmers loosing production are often frustrated and suffer from depression
Socio-economical ImpactsVisible: Increase in Corruption/Co-optation of different actors
Potential: Lack of work security, labour absenteeism, firings, unemployment, Loss of livelihood, Social problems (alcoholism, prostitution, etc..), Specific impacts on women, Violations of human rights, Loss of landscape/sense of place, Other socio-economic impacts
Other socio-economic impactsIn areas with brick kilns, people complain of social problems for young girls as labourers of such fields are often hired from far away areas. School/college going students complain of eve teasing by the labourers. The labourers, in turn, are also treated as bonded labours since during the entire production period, they can't leave the area and they get their salaries only at the end of the production period. Rural women complain of less production of fruits and homestead vegetation that greatly complement the staple intake of their children.
Project StatusIn operation
Conflict outcome / response:Court decision (victory for environmental justice)
Strengthening of participation
Violent targeting of activists
Application of existing regulations
Project temporarily suspended
Do you consider this an environmental justice success? Was environmental justice served?:Not Sure
Briefly explain:Although the High Court has given an injunction against operation of the Brick Kiln, the owner reportedly is attempting to set fire to the burner.
Sources & Materials
Related laws and legislations - Juridical texts related to the conflict

Constitution of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh; Local Government (Union Parishads) Act, 2009; Bangladesh Environment Conservation Act, 1995 and the Bangladesh Environment Conservation Rules 1997 made thereunder; Brick Manufacturing and Kiln Establishment (Control) Act, 2013; Penal Code, 1860; the Circular issued by Ministry of Land dated 25 July, 1990 (memo No. Bhu Ma/ Sha-10/ HuDa/ Shadharan-17/ 90/572(64)-akuin)
[click to view]

Other documents

Judgement of Keshobpur Bricks
[click to view]

General Dairy
[click to view]

[click to view]

Meta information
Contributor:Syeda Rizwana Hasan, BELA, [email protected]
Last update17/12/2018
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