With rapid urbanization, industrialization and increasing human activities, the problem of noise pollution in Dhaka city is worsening day by day. It is widely known that in many parts of Dhaka city, the sound regularly exceeds the acceptable level. It has become a matter of concern that noise pollution continues to be a major threat to the people living in Dhaka city.
As a matter of fact, while people are familiar with air or water pollution, people are little aware of sound pollution or its harmful effects. To focus on, sound is a form of energy which is emitted by a vibrating body and on reaching the ear causes the sensation of hearing through nerves. Noise is basically “loud and unpleasant” sound which exceeds the acceptable level and creates annoyance. So in simple terms, noise is unwanted sound. The World Health Organization (WHO) opines that 60 decibels of sound can make a person deaf. However, the noise level of different areas of Dhaka city is known to exceed the acceptable level of sound.
Of late, a study was conducted by some of the students of the Department of Environmental Science and Management of North South University to collect information about the present situation of sound pollution in Dhaka city, to analyze the impacts of this damage to living organisms and to come up with some probable solutions to this problem.
The study has found that there are several reasons behind noise pollution in our capital. For example- most of the motor vehicles such as buses, mini-buses and trucks have hydraulic horns and the drivers honk continuously until they get their ways clear. Moreover, the loud sound of brick-crushing machines in the locality and abuse of loudspeakers also cause noise pollution in the city.
Moreover 12 places of the city were selected for the study. It was found that out of those 12 places, the noise pollution level of eight places, namely Rampura Bazar, Dhanmondi Rd. 2, Nadda bus stand, Airport area, House Building bus stand, Gulshan 2, Dhanmondi R/A and Uttara Model Town is very high and beyond the tolerable level.
However it is mentionable that noise pollution is not only hazardous to the quality of life but it also affects human health adversely. According to a study, noise pollution causes mental and physical illness among the people. It causes high blood pressure, tachycardia, headache and indigestion, peptic ulcer, and also affects sound sleep. Anyone may become deaf for the time being if 100 dB or more noise pollution occurs for half an hour or more in any place. Working in an environment having loud noise for a long period can cause complete deafness to any person. A regular exposure to high levels of noise can damage a person’s sense of hearing. It may cause hypertension, disturb concentration, and hinder cognitive development in children. The effects of excessive noise could be so severe that one may even suffer a permanent loss of the power of hearing or memory. It may also cause a psychiatric disorder to a person. Children are the most vulnerable to noise pollution while sometimes pregnant women living near a high noise producing source may give birth to disabled children.
Well, it has been suggested in the study that a proper management can reduce the noise level and rid the Dhaka dwellers of the harmful effects of sound pollution. Keeping only fit and authorized vehicle on road, allowing only the less noisy vehicles, regular servicing and tuning of vehicles etc.
can also reduce the noise level on the roads to a good extent. Apart from that, growing awareness among the drivers can debar them from honking about inconsiderately. Implementation of noise monitoring rules and regulations and use of noise barriers can also help people save themselves from the harmful effects of noise pollution.
(This article is an excerpt of the study conducted by S.M. Tariquzzaman, Abdullahi Abdi Ali, Md. Arif Rabbani, Mohamed Sharif and Md. Moshiur Rahman.)