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29 July, 2016 00:00 00 AM
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Project on alternative bricks inaugurated

Brick industry emits 8.75m tons of GHG annually
Staff Reporter

Oxfam, an international confederation of charitable organisation  focused on the alleviation of global poverty, organised national inception workshop on ‘Promoting Sustainable Building in Bangladesh’ project, a measure aiming to reduce green house gas emission, deforestation and land degradation in the country through using alternate bricks.
 The workshop inception was held at Hotel Dhaka Regency yesterday. The project (duration of which is 1st January 206-30th June 2019) is designed for sustainable consumption and production (SCP) of eco-friendly alternative bricks and other construction materials in Bangladesh.
Speakers on the occasion said the brick industry emits 8.75 million tons of green house gas (GHG) annually and consume 2.2 million tons of coal and 1.9 million tons of firewood annually. Around 30 per cent brick kilns use firewood illegally aggravating deforestation.  Heavy use of clay from agricultural lands causes depletion of top soil and acid deposits from brick kilns affect agricultural productivity.
In order to meet the increasing demand of bricks, 95 per cent of brick kilns employ outdated energy-intensive technologies resulting in detrimental environmental consequences. Various projects and initiatives introduced technologies targeting to reduce GHG emission but traditional clay content which requires burning is still used in brick production; thus contributing very little in environmental improvement.
Specialists at the programme suggested dredged soil from river to be used in brick production instead of top soil of agricultural lands to save productivity and make brick industry eco-friendly.
The project would engage multi-sector stakeholders in implementing its plan. The Chief Guest of the event was   Engineer Mosharraf Hossain, MP, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Housing and Public Works and Guest of Honour was Mr. Mario Ronconi, Head of Cooperation - Head of Unit, EU Delegation to Bangladesh. The event was presided by Mohammad Abu Sadeque PEng, Director, Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI).  Among others Snehal V. Soneji, Country Director, Oxfam in Bangladesh, M.B Akhter, Program Director, Oxfam in Bangladesh, Syeda Rizwana Hasan, Chief Executive, BELA and Hasan Aref, Director, Programmes, JCF were present.
“The government and especially HBRI will continue to provide support to achieve the purpose of this project. The Ministry of Housing and Public Works promises to provide support to formulate the necessary policy regulations. We will assist in raising awareness through using the different media platforms,” said Engineer Mosharraf Hossain  MP, Honourable Minister, Ministry of Housing and Public Works, and Chief Guest on the occasion.
“If we continue to lose top soil we would suffer from lack of food someday,” said the minister.
 “As Bangladesh races to become a middle income country and construction fuelled by the booming economy continues apace, Oxfam's EU funded project on alternative bricks offers a pathway to sustainable consumption,” said Snehal V. Soneji, Country Director, Oxfam in Bangladesh, in his welcome speech. “It aims to work with partners - HBRI, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Jagorani Chakra Foundation to promote these bricks amongst consumer and producer groups for wider replication and commercialisation across Bangladesh.”
 The project is funded by the European Union and will be jointly implemented by Oxfam, Bangladesh Environmental Lawyers Association (BELA), Housing and Building Research Institute (HBRI) and Jagorani Chakra Foundation (JCF), in Jessore and Dhaka. These two places were selected for the project as ample soil can be dredged from the rivers of these areas.  

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Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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