Bangladesh now makes environment-friendly materials for building multi-storey structures. These materials are largely earthquake-resistant.
Experts say use of these environment-friendly materials will help reduce environmental pollution as well as cut construction costs.
Experts also say with government incentive, people will be interested in taking up businesses in this sector.
Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI) of the housing and public works ministry has been working on the production of environment-friendly building materials for the past three years.
HBRI has invented a new type of brick that is portable and cost effective.
The bricks are made of a river mud composite and cement. HBRI has also invented specialised floor, roof and wall materials.
The institute said the newly invented bricks will bring down the cost to half of what bricks cost now.
The authorities also said the specialised wall, which is made of jute fiber and cement is sturdy and less prone to erode.
Recently this correspondent visited a 5-storey building of the house building institution that has been built experimentally.
HBRI director Mohammad Abu Sadeque said, “Our engineers and architects have designed the building. This kind of building costs 30 per cent less than conventional ones.”
Abu Sadeque also said 25 billion bricks are currently produced in the country every year. To meet the demand, 60 million tonnes of topsoil is required. In producing these bricks, 5 million tonnes of coal and 3 million tonnes of wood are burnt, emitting 15 million tonnes of carbon in the air.
Abu Sadeque also said a programme named Switch Asia funded by the European Union is being operated to enhance skill, research capcity and to make people aware in this regard.
Since river bed soil is being used to produce these newly invented bricks, it will help save the topsoil and the environment.
If other government institutions involved in construction come forward, the general public will be encouraged to use this new technology.
The brick kilns in and around the capital are mostly responsible for air pollution. According to the environment department, brick kilns are responsible for 58 per cent of pollution in the city and the rest comes from dust, transportation, and other sources.
According to the seventh five-year plan of the country, the government has promised to bring down pollution to zero by 2020. But, the government itself is not focused on the deadline.
Vice Chancellor of Asia Pacific University professor Jamilur Reza Choudhury said, “We can encourage Bangladeshi and multinational companies to produce environment-friendly building materials.”
Architect Iqbal Habib told Prothom Alo that there is no alternative to save the city other than using environment-friendly materials.
The government should come forward in this regard, he added.
Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association’s (BELA) chief executive Syeda Rizwana Hasan emphasised amendment of the Brick Production and Brick Kiln Building (Control) Act- 2013.
She also said this sector is the biggest source of greenhouse gases in the country.
*The article is rewritten in English by Toriqul Islam