Noise pollution : Can’t it be kept within limit ?

Publish: 9:12 PM, July 31, 2021 | Update: 9:12:PM, July 31, 2021

Noise pollution has become a major nuisance for the inhabitants of the burgeoning capital city Dhaka and other cities and towns of the country in recent times. Of course it may seem irrelevant to discuss the issue of noise pollution in this situation of the raging pandemic and the lockdown. But lockdown is not for all times. Hopefully, the pandemic will turn a corner and normal city life will resume. Then the curse of noise pollution in urban life will reappear.

It is one of the many menaces that plague the lives of the citizens. There was a time when residents ofDhaka could move peacefully from one place to the other in the city. They did not have to face that much hassle ; there was no serious traffic snarl, no traffic congestion in those days that create noise pollution as a fall-out from incessant honking.

With the rapid urbanization, Dhaka saw high rise in population. The city has become a bursting megacity now with all its attendant evils, noise pollution being a major ineof them. Honking of horns of vehicles, sound of breaking bricks and stones by machines during construction works, use of heavy and noisy equipment and loudspeakers, sound caused by industrial units, sound of grill making workshops, welding shops, sound of generators, high volume of music from audio video shops and residences of individuals during wedding ceremonies and religious gatherings are the main sources of noise pollution in the city in recent times. There are also vendors who go on selling their merchandise on the roads, lanes and by-lanes in vans with loudspeakers describing the qualities of the merchandise.

According to environmentalists sound decibel in Dhaka city is in danger level compared to any other cities in the world. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), generally 60 decibel sound can render a person deaf temporarily and 100 decibel can cause complete deafness. The noise of any busy street in Dhaka has been estimated at 60 to 80 decibels, with the sound of hydraulic horns measuring 95 decibels. It is unfortunate that the authorities could not implement the Sound Pollution Control Act-2006.

It is gathered that the limit of sound that is one and a half to two multiplies higher than the tolerable limit. Save the Environment Movement, an organisation, has recorded 84-100 decibel sound in the peaceful area at daytime, 84-93 in the residential area, 88-102 in the mixed area, 86-103 in the commercial area, which are one and a half to two multiplies higher than the tolerable limit. A survey conducted by the Department of Environment (DoE) recently said the sound level was beyond the permissible limit in summer. It was more than double the limit in some areas. According to Bangladesh PoribeshAndolon the Sound Pollution Law does not allow installation and use of building construction equipment within a 500-meter radius of a residential area or dwelling houses. But the law is hardly followed by the developers. Similarly, the Noise Pollution (Control) Rules-2006 prohibits honking of horns within a 100-metre radius of hospitals, educational institutions and offices. The rules also make mandatory taking prior permission for using loudspeakers. But who cares ?

Students, particularly examinees, patients in hospitals and clinics bear the brunt of noise pollution. Ours is a country with many people devoid of rationality and common sense. There are people with macho habits and temperaments. They care a fig to abide by the law of the land. They are causing more harm than good to this city. Unscrupulous drivers of vehicles keep on blaring horns without rhyme or reason. Wayward youths keep on playing music with high volumes near roadsides, much to the annoyance of the pedestrians. Besides, rock musical sessions are arranged on the rooftops of houses during marriage ceremonies by the people who have no respect for others conveniences. This kind of sound pollution mars the sleep of people living in the areas. This kind of nuisance is mostly created by the neo-rich people bereft of human values. Peace-loving neighbours have to endure this silently fearing reprisals. Mushroom growth of workshops and welding shops have also contributed to noise pollution in the city. Besides, some times high sound of loudspeakers from religious gatherings on the roads add to the sound pollution.

According to physicians, noise pollution may cause physiological and psychological problems, hypertension, high stress level, obsession, headache, sleeplessness, neurological disorder and even heart disease. Noise pollution also causes to decline learning ability of children. The rate of dumbness among children will go out of limit if the prevailing sound pollution cannot be stopped, said a specialist physician. A WHO study revealed that dumbness is rapidly increasing in the world. About 15 per cent people, mostly children, are suffering from hearing problem, while five per cent from dumbness, which is affecting their daily activities seriously.

The authorities concerned should create mass awareness against noise pollution and rein in the people and organizations responsible for causing noise pollution in the interest of public health. The sooner it is done, the better.