Sunday, 29 May, 2022

Implement law to prevent noise pollution

Implement law to prevent noise pollution

Environmental pollution has reached an unbearable level. In many ways, our environment is being polluted. One of the main causes of environmental pollution is noise pollution. At present, the condition of noise pollution in Dhaka city is very alarming. It seems to be a problem, but because of our unconsciousness we often say that it cannot be resolved. But these problems are made by humans.

If we adopt a little awareness then it is possible to control this problem. Noise pollution also affects heart, blood circulation, food canal and stomach besides causing some mental complications, according to psychiatrists and cardiologists. People of different ages also suffer from various diseases because of this pollution in Dhaka city. Sometimes intolerable sound pollution may cause death to heart patients.

At home, in the office, on the streets and even in recreation, we are being subjected to noise pollution in a number of ways. Worldwide, people are aware to prevent environmental pollution. In Bangladesh, the issue of prevention of environmental pollution is also a matter of concern. Many people are working for development of public awareness and environmental development in order to preserve the environment. The media will have to move forward in this regard.

In Bangladesh, noise pollution is a major health hazard. In fact, due to noise pollution millions of people in the country are exposed to a number of health risks - from deafness to heart attack. On city streets, noise pollution can be caused by hydraulic horns of vehicles, microphones and cassette players. The hydraulic horns used by buses, trucks and scooters in  crowded city streets are dangerous for human being. This is also how noise pollution in the capital city is affecting the hearing power of thousands of children everyday. The horns especially cause serious damage to children. Experts are of the opinion that if a child below three years of age hears a horn emitting 100 dB of noise from a close range, he or she might lose his or her hearing power. A child's health may also be adversely affected by loud sounds from radio, television, cassette players and microphones, sound of mills and factories and loud noise.

From source of information, "the unit of sound frequency is hertz. Human beings usually hear 15 to 20 kilohertz (KHz) frequency sound. According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), generally 60 dB sound can make a man deaf temporarily and 100 dB sound can cause complete deafness. But the noise of any busy street in Dhaka has been estimated at 60 to 80 dB, with the sound of vehicles being 95 dB, loud speakers 90 to 100 dB, mills and factories 80 to 90 dB, restaurants and cinema halls 75 to 90 dB, festivals 85 to 90 dB, scooters or motorbikes 87 to 92 dB and trucks and buses 92 to 94 dB. But the desired sound measure is 25 dB in the bedroom, 40 dB in the dining or drawing room, 35-40 dB in the office, 30-40 dB in the class room, 35-40 dB in the library, 20-35 dB in hospital, 40-60 dB in a restaurant and 45 dB in the city at night. When the sound exceeds this limit, there is noise pollution. Noise pollution beyond the limit destroys hearing and might even lead to the losing of one's mental balance. Noise pollution also causes peevish temperament, affects lungs, hampers the intellect of children and makes them apathetic towards their studies."

According to a survey of the Department of Environment (DOE), noise causes mental and physical illness among the people. It causes high blood pressure, tachycardia, headache, 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 atmosphere of loud noise for a long period can cause complete deafness to any person. Any sort of noise pollution seriously affects expecting mothers. It has been observed that pregnant mothers living near big airports give birth to more crippled, deformed and immature children than those living in other places.

According to the DOE, the perfect sound condition for Bangladesh is 45 dB for day time and 35 dB for night time in peaceful areas, 50 dB for day time and 40 dB for night time in residential areas, 60 dB for day time and 50 dB for night time in mixed areas (residential, commercial and industrial localities), 70 dB for day time and 60 dB for night time in commercial areas and 75 dB for day time and 70 dB for night time in industrial areas.

Another survey of DOE shows that noise pollution has increased in different parts of Dhaka City. The survey indicates that at BAF Shaheen School, the noise level is 83 dB during day time and 74 dB at night time. At Motijheel Government High School, the noise level is 83 dB during day time and 79 dB at night time, at Dhanmondi Government Boys School, 80 dB during day time and 75 dB at night time, at Azimpur Girls' College, 80 dB during daytime and 74 dB at night time, at Tejgaon Girls' College, 75 dB during day time and 67 dB at night time, at Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujib Medical University, 82 dB during day time and 74 dB at night time, at Dhaka Medical College Hospital, 80 dB during day time and 69 dB at night time, at Mitford Hospital, 76 dB during day time and 73 dB at night time and at Shishu Hospital, 72 dB during day time and 69 dB at night time.

According to World Health Organisation (WHO), the safe limit of sound is 45 decibels. Sound over 65 decibels creates heart diseases and over 90 decibels of sound leads to ulcer, hearing problems and changes of nerve system and that of over 120 decibels creates pain in the ears and destroys hearing ability gradually. According to a study of BUET on noise pollution, 45 decibels of sound was around the city in 1985 which was tolerable, but in 1990 it rose to 55, in 2000 it was 75 and in 2013 it rose to 110 decibels to some of the areas. On average, 105 decibels of sound is created in Dhaka city everyday which is alarming and a permanent health hazard to the city dwellers. The study also says high-pitched sound of hydraulic horns of buses, trucks, private cars and even motorcycles, cassette players in markets and buses, loud speakers and roadside mills and factories severely affect passengers and passers-by. Noise pollution around Dhaka city is increasing day-by-day due to growing number of public private vehicles.

Recently, the use of polythene shopping bags has been banned by the government which is a positive step for the promotion of public interest and environment. Private organisations and media have come forward and have played an important role in making the law effective. At present, air pollution, prevention of water pollution and forestation issues are discussed, but only the limited constraints of discussion or thinking about noise pollution.

There is no clear idea among people about noise pollution which causes severe health problems. Although several non-governmental organisations have some work on this, it is not enough compared to the need. There is no law in our country to control noise pollution; traffic laws are not being properly implemented or revised. Work for a better environment is also means work to control the noise pollution including the control of tobacco control, air pollution, and limiting the use of polythene bags.

Our recommendations have been presented in this report by taking the public opinion about some of the fundamental issues related to noise pollution and controlling it, which we believe is important for increasing public awareness and determining government policies. The organisations or individuals, who are interested in working with noise pollution, hope they will benefit from this report. We believe that the guidance given by the increase in public awareness and unified action efforts of governmental and non-governmental organisations will help take sound pollution to the level of control.

We can easily follow the following methods to prevent pollution:

If we are a little aware of ourselves, we can protect ourselves from being a sufferer; control the volume of the TV and music system used at home. Do not play car horns unusually unnecessarily. Do not use loudspeakers. Stop playing band in wedding procession, stop cracking crackers. Talk about complying with all the noise pollution laws. Use organic fertilisers instead of chemical fertilisers. Use paper instead of polythene. Use cotton and jute instead of polyester. Ensure the proper disposal of polythene bag properly. Plant more trees. Don't violate any law related to chemical pollution. Electronic pollution in the whole world has been horrific. Extraction of pollutants from digital or electronics is used to throw away or use. This electronic wastage should be recycled. To avoid electronic waste, different companies employ other companies to remove such contaminated waste. In India, only a few companies are working to stop digital pollution. Hopefully the awareness of this pollution is increasing.

Sound pollution across the country, including the capital has now reached a critical level. Noise pollution has become now life-threatening issue in Dhaka city. It is important to protect our environment and ensure better public health for a better future. At present the level of noise pollutants from different parts of Dhaka city ranges from 80 decibels to 110 decibels. In some places it is even more. This level is increasing with time. Heavy hydraulic horns are used in vehicles, construction noise, brick-kiln machine, marriage ceremony, birthday party and New Year celebration are the sources of noise pollution. Due to noise pollution, the hearing loss of the people, insomnia, heartburn and new cardiovascular disease are increasing. In the end, I want to say that the implementation of the Sound Pollution Control Act must be implemented. Everybody should work together to reduce the noise level so that in the long run people can eradicate noise pollution from the country once for all.


Md Atikur Rahman, a columnist and former head of PRD at BUFT