Dhaka’s noise level too high to tolerate

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The extent of noise pollution is twice higher than the human tolerance level in Dhaka, seriously affecting public health

Referring to a 2017 study it carried out, green group Poribesh Bachao Andolon (POBA) said recently that the silent zone like educational institutions, hospitals and office area of the city are all abuzz with high degree of noise pollution. It found 83 to 104 decibels (dBs) of sound in Dhaka’s silent zones during day-time whereas the standard noise level should be within 50 dBs according to Bangladesh’s noise pollution guideline.

POBA report also showed that in residential zone the sound remains 92 – 98 dBs during day time and 68 – 83 dBs during the night, way above the standard 55 dBs and 45 dBs respectively.

The noise pollution is also very high at mixed and commercial zones too, said POBA.

In observance of the International Noise Awareness Day (INAD) – 2018, POBA held a roundtable at its office late last week to discuss – ‘Gradual rise of noise pollution: Effects and Responsibilities’.

Initiated in 1996 by the New York-based Center of Hearing and Communication (CHC), INAD is observed on the last Wednesday of April every year all over the world.

Speakers at the roundtable expressed grave concern about the side effects of noise pollution. POBA General Secretary Md. Abdus Sobhan presented a keynote at the roundtable.

Sobhan, also a former additional director general of the Department of Envioronment, said a guideline on noise pollution was framed in 2006 that classified the whole city into some zones such as silent, residential, mixed, commercial and industrial and also fixed the maximum permissible noise levels accordingly.

Sobhan repented that nobody cares about noise level whereas the city’s noise pollution is becoming intolerable.

Quoting the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommendations, he said, living in a neighbourhood with 60 dBs noise level can temporarily deafen a person while that in 100 dBs noise level can permanently damage one’s hearing organs.

Sobhan also said, according to a report of 2013 conducted by Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University (BSMMU), presently one-third of the total population is suffering from hearing disorder in different levels while children under 15 years are the most vulnerable.

Roundtable participants said absence of proper monitoring, disobeying the rules, unconsciousness of city people, and reluctance of law enforcers are all contributing to the rise in noise pollution.

POBA President Abu Nasr Khan termed noise pollution as ‘silent killer’ which brings heart diseases, makes people psychologically irritated, causes digest disorders and gradually make people deafened.

He said taking combined initiative by all relevant government and non-government bodies, strict enforcement of the laws, building public awareness mainly among the drivers can lessen the noise pollution in Dhaka.

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