Dhaka, the capital of Bangladesh, is like an island surrounded by fire. Hundreds of tall chimneys of the brick klins pouring grey smoke in the air evokes a feel of Mordor with smoke and heat all around. There are millions of bricks burned here to serve the rapidly growing demand of urbanization and industrialization of the economy. However, the price paid is quiet high -and the brunt is borne by the workers and the environment.
Workers of all sexes and ages work in the brick klins. They come from all parts of the country and often stay for months on end, working everyday. Wages tend to start from $4/day and still payment is irregular. The work is monotonous and heavy, the heat and toxic fumes are often cause of health hazards and respiratory problems. There are little to no regulations enforced for the industry.
In days past, slaves in Egypt would shed their sweat and blood to erect tall pyramids for the everafter life of their masters. The trifle pay and the deplorable conditions in which the brick klin workers earn their livelihood is little different. It is indeed ironic, that the bricks produced here are being used to build higher and taller buildings in the cities which are prone to both man-made and nature inflicted disasters. A pyramid, is a tomb.
©Shahnewaz Karim, 2010