New Internationalist

Khaled Hasan

June 2009

Khaled Hasan captures life working in Bangladesh’s brickfields.

I was born in Bangladesh in 1981 and started working as a photographer in 2001. I am particularly interested in nature and landscape photography, and covering social and environmental issues. I am currently studying for my Diploma in Photography from the South Asian Institute of Photography: Pathshala.
This photograph was taken in January 2007 and shows a worker at a brickfield in Mirjapur, Tangail, Bangladesh. A brickfield is a large landed area used for manufacturing bricks from mud, soil, clay and sand, and there are 6-7,000 of them across the country. Nearly half are illegal, and though they play a considerable part in supporting the economy, they also threaten the local ecology and human health by violating environmental protection laws. Two million bricks are produced each year by the brickfields. The kilns are fired using wood, coal, old tyres and – for the few brick producers who can afford it – natural gas. Of the 204 million cubic feet of wood which is cut down and sold every year in Bangladesh, 52 million cubic feet are burned in the brickfields, making this industry the consumer of a quarter of the country’s annual wood supply and a major contributor to deforestation.
Over 95 per cent of the brickfields can only be used for five months of the year because most of them are located in low-lying areas and are particularly vulnerable to floods, which are common during the monsoon season.

Khaled Hasan
Drik / Majority World
www.majorityworld.com

This column was published in the June 2009 issue of New Internationalist. To read more, buy this issue or subscribe.

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This article was originally published in issue 423

New Internationalist Magazine issue 423
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