Brick kilns pose risk to health and environment

Phidim, August 31

Eight brick kilns which were established in a populated region of Panchthar headquarters Phidim and its adjoining areas are said to be taking a heavy toll on a school, forest and human settlements.

Despite offering jobs to hundreds of local people, operation of the brick kiln industries is putting human health and environment in jeopardy.

The concerned authority, however, has not paid any heed to the need to manage the brick industries, locals complained.

The brick kilns were granted permission to operate with environment-friendly Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln technology. Six of the eight kilns, however, are still using the old technology to produce bricks.

Local Hari Shrestha said that brick kiln proprietors were not listening to their demand to relocate the industries and that the emitted dust and smoke from the industries were having adverse effect on human health.

Industry Act 1992 states that brick kilns can be set up at a distance of at least 500 metres from human settlements and school areas. Brick kilns here have defied this provision.

Govind Gurung, one of the proprietors of the brick kilns, said that his industry had provided jobs to 25 people. He claimed that he would now use modern technology and make the industry pollution free.

Only Somthing and Manish Brick Kilns have used Vertical Shaft Brick Kiln to manufacture bricks, although inside the premises of a school and a forest. Sagar Brick Kiln is located in a forested area while Dipak, Yam, Shivkala UN and Youth Workers Brick Kiln Industry are in the middle of dense human settlements.

Panchthar CDO Kiran Thapa said that action would be taken against brick kilns failing to meet the standards. The brick kilns, however, are yet to be monitored.

The bricks manufactured in Phidm are being exported to Ilam, Taplejung and Panchthar districts.

Laxmi Prasad Dahal, chief of Cottage and Small Development Committee Panchthar said brick kilns continue to be sources of good revenue collection.

Locals and other stakeholders, however, are unhappy that brick kiln industries have continued to ignore their pleas to relocate.