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Eco blocks, a right step towards sustainable development in Nilphamari

  • Published at 09:54 am June 11th, 2020
A house is being constructed using eco-friendly concrete blocks in Sadar upazila of Nilphamari Dhaka Tribune

House Building Research Institute (HBRI) has been working for over 40 years to develop a substitute for conventional bricks, which is both cost-effective and durable

The demand for environmental friendly concrete blocks has been steadily gaining momentum in Nilphamari after a local company decided to mass-produce these units for the first time right here in the district.

M/S Sayeed Enterprise based in Kanialkhata village under Itakhola union of Sadar upazila began producing eco-friendly alternatives to traditional clay-bricks in January, said Md Abu Sayeed, owner of the enterprise.

“Bangladesh Investment Development Authority (BIDA) and Entrepreneurship & Skill Development Project (ESDP) funded the project, enabling us to produce concrete blocks using soil dredged from the bottom of rivers, sand, cement, and iron netting; without having to use clay-rich topsoil as required for the traditional bricks,” he added.

House Building Research Institute (HBRI), a component of the Ministry of Housing and Public Works, has been working for over 40 years to develop a substitute for conventional bricks in the construction industry, which is both cost-effective and durable.

According to data from HBRI, the country burns around 240 million tons of coal, wood and bamboo every year to make clay bricks, which emits about 9.8 million tons of carbon dioxide, amounting to 23% of Bangladesh’s total carbon emissions.

According to the Bangladesh Brick Manufacturing Owners Association, around 7,000 soil-burning brick kilns produce around 25 billion bricks every year, consuming over 1.27 billion cubic feet of topsoil.

Dr Tobarok Ali, a resident of Araji Kanial Khata Dhanipara village in Sadar upazila, says he has benefitted from building his home with the eco-friendly concrete blocks.

He said: "The net cost of each concrete block, which is equivalent to five clay bricks, is Tk37. whereas the net cost of five clay-bricks is Tk50. The concrete blocks are not only more durable but also lighter in weight, lowering the transporting cost and increasing mason’s efficiency.

The government has plans to use concrete blocks in 30% of its construction projects in the fiscal year 2021-22, and take it to 100% by 2025.

Md Mamunur Rashid, project coordinator of Nilphamari district ESDP, said: "Nilphamari Deputy Commissioner (DC) Md Hafizur Rahman Chowdhury inaugurated the official production of the blocks by Sayeed Enterprise in January 2020. BIDA and ESDP of the government have been initiating the production all across the country to build a pollution-free Bangladesh."

Nilphamari DC Hafizur said there are no other eco-friendly substitutes for clay-bricks other than the concrete block bricks at the moment. "People have been encouraged to build their houses with these blocks and more entrepreneurs are being created through the project."

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