A Bangladeshi worker piles up bricks outside the brick field in Habigonj, Bangladesh, on March 5. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

A Bangladeshi worker shows his dust-mixed hands in the brick field in Habigonj, Bangladesh, on March 5. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

About 11,000 brick fields are established across Bangladesh to meet the growing demand of construction works as urbanization rises rapidly in the country. About 4,000 brick kilns burn nearly 2 million tons of coal and 2 million tons of firewood annually, according to the Bangladeshi Department of Environment.

In a recent global survey, Bangladesh ranked 131st among 132 countries in controlling air pollution with regard to its effect on human health.

Male and female poor laborers migrate to brick fields to find seasonal jobs despite the hard conditions and low salaries. Brick workers still use 150-year-old techniques: collecting soil from humid areas, mixing it with water, molding the bricks by hand and drying them in the sun before they are fired in traditional kilns.

Most of the brick fields are built without respecting clear environmental policies, exposing brick workers to major health risks. Farmlands are being exhausted and water and soil polluted. A massive deforestation is the further result of the 25 to 26 percent of the national wood production being used to fire bricks each year.

Text by Reuters


Bangladeshi Santal female workers carry raw bricks in the brick field in Habigonj on March 25. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

A Bangladeshi worker removes dust as he cleans the oven in the brick field in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh in March. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

A Bangladeshi worker shows of his dust-mixed feet in the brick field in Habigonj, Bangladesh, on March 5. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

An aerial shot of large brick fields situated along the river in Dhaka, Bangladesh, on April 9. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

Bangladeshi workers load up bricks as they carry them outside the brick field in Habigonj on March 5. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

Leaves of the trees are covered with dust in the brick field in Habigonj on March 26. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

Bangladeshi Santal women workers distribute food during the lunch break in the brick field in Habigonj on March 26. (Abir Adullah/EPA)

Bangladeshi children stand near a brick field covered with thick dust in Savar, Dhaka, Bangladesh, on March 31. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)

Bangladeshi workers cut soil for making bricks close to a brickfield in Savar, Dhaka, in March. (Abir Adullah/European Pressphoto Agency)