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Lens Magazine|July 2021
BRICK WORKERS FROM BANGLADESH | CHILDREN OF BANGLADESH
JOE BÜRGI

BRICK WORKERS FROM BANGLADESH

You can see them all around Bangladesh. There are hundreds of them. Some say more than 15,000. The high chimneys along the rivers and cities pouring constantly smoke into the air. Millions of bricks are burned there. But the price is high and paid by the local and from far coming workers and the environment surrounded by those factories.

Bangladesh is a rapidly urbanizing country having a 163 million population. This generated a very high amount for cheap building materials and gave brickmaking ago. But most of them are illegally built.

In late 2019 excavators flanked by Bangladesh riot police are at work demolishing illegal soot-belching brick kilns around the smog-choked capital Dhaka, forcing migrant laborers out of work and back to their villages. This led to a lot of unemployed people in Bangladesh. Furthermore, authorized brick kilns that are using the soil of hills and arable land for making bricks and using wood as fuel in the kilns will be reported to the court.

The bricks are made almost fully by hand, using ancient technology. The work is demanding – accidents occur often, and the work is hard. Workers get paid for how many bricks they produce or can carry.

For the fast workers, a week’s salary can range between 10 – 15 Euros a week. Nearly one million people work for 12-14 hours a day, almost every day of the week. Many of them live in brick factories. Near almost every factory, there are villages where all the families that work inside the factories live.

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