The High Court Division on Monday issued nine directives to the government to curb the capital’s air from pollution by  shutting down brick kilns in and around the capital in two months, ban black smoke emitting and life expired vehicles.

The court directed the government to destroy life expired vehicles and defining their valid life spans.

A bench of Justice FRM Nazmul Ahasan and Justice KM Kamrul Kader also directed the director general of Department of Environment to appear before it on February 2 to explain what measures had been taken so far to improve the quality of air in and around the capital.   

Five of the directives were issued to the two mayors of the capital to reduce air pollution and they were asked to submit their compliance reports by March.

The five directives include compelling owners of markets, shops and houses to develop their own waste collection  system for the final collection by the two city corporations.             

The court directed the mayors to ensure that construction materials were covered by contractors, immediate repair of  roads dug after completion of work by the utility services and to ensure that no uncovered truck entered into the capital, to ensure spraying water on the roads  twice every day.

The court directed the DoE to shut down in a month factories that burn tyres and  recycle batteries  to earn money and in the process cause harm to public health and the environment. 

The court directed the 16-member high-powered committee of the ministry of environment, forests and climate change to implement in two months its 13 recommendations to reduce air pollution in the capital and submit its compliance within two months.

The bench issued the directive while hearing a public interest litigation writ petition Human Rights and Peace for Bangladesh filed in January 2019.

At Sunday’s hearing, the environment, forest and climate change ministry submitted in a report that the ministry in complying the court’s November 26 order had formed the high powered committee with 16 experts which identified the causes of air pollution in the capital and made 13 recommendations to reduce the air pollution.

The recommendations include compelling  contractors to spray water on the roads around the construction sites by fencing them, prohibiting storage of construction materials on roads immediately on completion of road repairs by the utilities.

The recommendations call for banning  burning bitumen and planting grass on  road dividers, removal of household wastes by house owners before the wastes get dry, using modern sweeping machines instead of brooms, spraying water on roads twice every day and installing fixed water sprayers at important corners, shutting down  brick kilns and using  block bricks for constructing government buildings, forcing house owners to create own sewerage systems while constructing buildings, and forcing hospital authorities to develop their own  medical waste management system. 

The bench time and again expressed annoyance over the failure of the two city corporations to control dust by spraying water on the capital’s roads every morning and afternoon.

The bench scolded the CEOs of the two city corporations summoning them in the court for submitting incorrect compliance reports time and again since January 28 without specifying when and on which roads they had sprayed water to control dusts and air pollution.

On January 28, the HC issued the directive about spraying water on the city roads after hearing the HRPB’s writ petition.

The bench in a ruling had also asked the respondents to explain why their failure to curb air pollution in the capital due to construction activities would not be declared as illegal.

The respondents were also asked to explain why they would not be directed to take measures to prevent air pollution as it puts public health in jeopardy.

The two city corporations had submitted at the previous hearing that dust cannot be controlled around big construction sites unless the contractors spray water on the roads around their construction sites.   

HRPB’s lawyer Manzill Murshid submitted that Dhaka city ranked the fourth worst in Air Quality Index (AQI) report released on November 2019.

He submitted that the under construction metro rail project became the source of increased air pollution in the capital.

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