Alternate bricks and other environment-friendly concrete products are gaining popularity in the country to meet a growing demand for housing and other infrastructures.
They have brought a tremendous innovation to save the top soil and farmlands across the country which is used for making the traditionally burnt bricks.With the annual growth rate of 20 percent in the last couple of years, 20 private firms are producing alternative bricks and concrete building materials.
Talking to insiders in private sector, it is learnt that the government establishments contribute around 65 percent of the total demand while real-estate companies 25 percent and individual building owners around 10 percent right now.
Among the manufacturing companies, Concord is the pioneer of the concrete building materials. Its officials said it was the first company which set up automated batching plants to supply ready-mixed concrete for construction sector back in 1990.
Similarly, other companies like BTI, SEL and Meer are also producers of environment-friendly products.
Being the pioneer in the field of concrete building materials, Concord has four fully-automated plants that manufacture concrete blocks (load bearing blocks, hollow blocks and solid blocks), paving blocks, ceiling blocks and a host of other concrete products. The company has also a terrazzo tiles factory and a roof tiles plant.
Concord officials said they set up two fully automated high capacity European block plants on the bank of the Meghna River in 1998. This was the first commercial production of concrete blocks in Bangladesh.Products include Hollow blocks, Solid blocks, Ornamental blocks, Pavers, Kerb stones, Roof tiles, Cladding blocks/bricks, etc. The capacity of each plant is around 7,200,000 blocks per year.
During a recent visit to their block plant at Anarpara of Gazipur, it was found that the plant runs a Besser V-3 machine to produce some of the strongest concrete blocks in the world.
The capacity of the Besser Plant is 4,320,000 blocks per year. The blocks can easily achieve strengths of over 50 MPa and are used for high-rise load bearing construction, especially suited for earthquake prone zones.
ASM Rakibul Hasan, senior manager of two plants at Munshiganj, said they are producing concrete-made products through the world’s best technology which are resistant to temperate and subsequent fluctuation.
Sylhet sand, pea gravel, stone dust, stone chips, cement and water are the required raw materials collected from domestic sources which is totally environment-friendly and reducing pressure on top soil.
If concrete building products are used for construction instead of clay burnt bricks, it can save up to 20 percent of the total cost, he added.
It was learnt that Bangladesh constitutes a production of 172 million pieces of brick in a year with an annual 2-3 percent increasing demand. Ninety-five percent of the brickfields across the country use highly polluting fixed chimney kilns while some 150 out of 6,600 brick kilns produce brick using modern technology.
Brick kilns are found to be the major reasons behind large chunk of fertile lands losing its fertility and becoming barren. It also pollutes the air leading Dhaka to be the third polluted city.
A recent study by the Department of Environment reveals that 58.5 percent of the total air pollution in Dhaka city is generated by smoke from brick kilns.