Stone crushing mills use machinery to crush large stones into stone chips, which are then used as building or road construction materials.According to an article in Dhaka Tribune , most of these factories in the north and north-eastern regions of Bangladesh usually import stones from neighbouring countries such as India and Bhutan. The stones are also locally mined from north-eastern rivers, such as Piyain River in Sylhet, Karatoya River in Panchagarh, and Dharala River in Lalmonirhat. The illegal, unregulated and unauthorized setting up and operation of stone crusher units in Sylhet Sadar, Companygonj, Jaintapur, Goainghat and Kanaighat Upazillas (administrative tier lower to Districts) of Sylhet district was causing serious threats to local environment and was jeopardizing health, safety, comfort and well being of the local people. According to the Dhaka Tribune, this activity is the main cause for widespread cases of silicosis disease . The same also affected negatively the tourism of the area that once was picturesque. The unauthorized and unregulated operation of the stone crusher units were creating unbearable noise pollution, emitting fumes with volumes of ashes that were spreading around into the houses, fields and water bodies of the villages of Dhopagul, Shahebazar, Shalutikor under the said Upazillas. The fumes containing ashes were causing serious eye irritation, breathing difficulties and skin problems to the local people. The severe noise from the machines rendered it impossible for the children to attend schools while patients of nearby hospitals were severely disturbed. The operation of the stone crushing machines was disturbing the normal and peaceful life of the people of the said Upazillas against which appeal to local administration yielded no effective relief. A report prepared by the Upazilla Education Officer of Goainghat Upaziila on the state of Ballapunji Government Primary School depicted a horrendous picture of pollution being caused by the surrounding stone crushing units in the village of Ballapunji. According to the report dated 12 December, 2011 (Annexure “D”; PDF), the dusts from the crushing machines were entering into the eyes of the children while the same was causing persistent skin problems all over their bodies. The high noises were affecting hearing ability of the pupil and the teachers were forced to talk aloud. The trucks employed for loading and unloading of stones were diverting the attention of the children. The surrounding environment of the Ballapunji Government Primary School reached such state that in 2010, at least 15 children became mentally sick.
The High Court passed the judgment on 24 January, 2017 directing the government to prevent the functioning of all unauthorized stone crushing units operating in five Upazillas of Sylhet district. The government was also directed to relocate all authorized stone crushing units to a specific zone to be identified for that purpose. While the judgment is yet to be signed, directions against the unauthorized stone crushing units are yet to be carried out and the area identified as stone crushing zone is faced with local resistance.